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Indybay Feature
Tue Apr 5 2011 (Updated 04/06/11)
San Diego Hammers Down on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Despite Public Support for Medical Marijuana, San Diego Virtually Bans Dispensaries
The San Diego City Council spent nearly six hours on Monday, March 28th listening to public input and debating a proposed permit process for medical marijuana dispensaries — and passed, with only slight changes, a measure that dispensary members and their supporters say amounts to a virtual ban. Though public speakers in support of giving medical marijuana users safe access to the substance through collectives far outnumbered opponents at each stage of the process — at the Planning Commission and the City Council’s committees as well as the Council itself — the Council listened to the voices of advocates of the so-called "war on drugs" and enacted an ordinance that would make it virtually impossible for dispensaries to locate anywhere in the city of San Diego.

Medical marijuana supporters — including patients who use dispensaries as well as their managers and attorneys, as well as volunteer activists — organized a massive campaign they called "Stop the Ban" to try to get the Council to adopt a looser regulation along the lines suggested by the Council's Medical Marijuana Task Force. They packed the hearings before the Planning Commission and Council committees. They got constituents to write up to 3,000 letters to Councilmembers — the largest letter-writing campaign directed at the Council, according to organizer Ben Cisneros. And they staged a demonstration on the day of the Council meeting that drew up to 500 people, beginning at the Federal Building downtown and moving to the outside of San Diego City Hall.

imc_photo.gif Read more and view photos | San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access
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