Sunday, April 15, 2012

New medical marijuana initiatives filed in San Diego County


Amid a growing federal crackdown, medical marijuana advocates in San Diego County have announced plans to expand their efforts beyond the city of San Diego, proposing ballot initiatives in five other municipalities to tax and regulate storefront dispensaries. The proposals—filed in Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Lemon Grove and La Mesa—would limit the dispensaries to commercial and industrial areas and impose a 2.5% tax on retail transactions. They also would allow municipalities to establish security measures and hours of operation and require licensing. The proposed ballot measures largely mirror one planned for the city of San Diego. All are being coordinated by Citizens for Patient Rights and the Patient Care Association, a trade organization of nonprofit dispensaries.

"Our organization has wanted to create safe access throughout as much of the county as possible," said PCS chair James Schmachtenberger. "As we began collecting signatures for the initiative in San Diego, we saw the need of patients in outlying areas and we realized we were just under the deadline for when ballot measures would need to be turned in to qualify for the election in November."
A separate group of medical marijuana advocates has launched a petition to reverse a dispensary ban in Imperial Beach.

The efforts come a month after the US Attorney's Office revealed that more than 200 medical marijuana collectives in San Diego and Imperial counties have closed since federal prosecutors announced enforcement actions. Many of the closures were attributed to suits and settlements involving the San Diego City Attorney's Office. (San Diego Union-Tribune, March 30)

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