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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Activists (led by Eugene Davidovich, holding bullhorn) protest zoning ordinances passed by the San Diego City Council in March 2011 which they said amounted to a de facto ban. [Indy Bay]
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Activists (led by Eugene Davidovich, holding bullhorn) protest zoning ordinances passed by the San Diego City Council in March 2011 which they said amounted to a de facto ban.
[Indy Bay]

The San Diego City Council met on Tuesday in Closed Session to deal with 11 civil enforcement actions filed against marijuana dispensary operators and property owners who rented them space, in order to “compel compliance” with the city’s zoning laws.

The council, with agreement by Mayor Bob Filner, unanimously directed City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, in a 6-0 vote, not to dismiss the pending cases.

“In order to preserve the status quo, the current zoning laws will be enforced,” read a joint statement from Mayor Filner, City Council President Todd Gloria and City Attorney Goldsmith. “Dispensaries should not open in violation of existing laws.”

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner: "It's the compassionate thing to do" [The Kings Kronicles]
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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner:
“That’s the compassionate thing to do”
[The Kings Kronicles]

Earlier this month, Mayor Filner had ordered the San Diego Police Department and Neighborhood Compliance Office to stop targeting dispensaries for enforcement. Code violations found in routine inspections could still be cited, he said, reports CNS.

The city council had passed two ordinances in 2011 that allowed dispensaries to operate in San Diego, but included strict zoning requirements to keep them away from homes, parks and schools. Medical marijuana advocates said the laws amounted to a de facto dispensary ban and collected enough signatures to get them rescinded.

That, however, resulted in effectively making the dispensaries illegal, and most of them were shut down in the city.

According to the statement, the mayor and city attorney will bring to the city council in public session a zoning ordinance, “similar to what was previously adopted, for discussion purposes, post-haste.”

“Although no member of the City Council may commit at this point to the substance of an ordinance, the goal is to try and get in place as soon as possible a zoning amendment that will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in designated areas of the City,” the statement reads.

San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith: “I appreciate the Mayor’s leadership in moving the City toward a solution on medical marijuana dispensaries" [Pomerado News]
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San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith:
“I appreciate the Mayor’s leadership in moving the City toward a solution on medical marijuana dispensaries”
[Pomerado News]

“I will be working very hard in the next 30 days to bring an ordinance to the City Council that ensures the zoning law allows for reasonable regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the City of San Diego,” Mayor Filner said. “As I’ve said before, I want those who legitimately need medical marijuana for the relief of pain to have access to it legally. That is the compassionate thing to do.”

“Today’s action by the Mayor and Council is a critical step forward for patients seeking safe access and for neighborhoods concerned about the impacts of dispensaries,” City Council President Gloria said. “I look forward to scheduling a hearing on a proposed ordinance soon.”

“I appreciate the Mayor’s leadership in moving the City toward a solution on medical marijuana dispensaries,” City Attorney Goldsmith said. “Our office looks forward to working with the  Mayor and City Council on an ordinance. In the meantime, we will maintain the status quo through the enforcement of current laws.”

Be that as it may, I’d be feeling mighty odd if I were one of the dispensary operators being criminally charged for what will soon be inarguably legal in San Diego.

 

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