Saturday, August 1, 2009

Official Statement from Mayor Jerry Sanders about Medical Cannabis

Wednesday July 29th, 2009 the Public Health and Human Services Committee held a meeting where the issue of re-establishing the Medical Cannabis Taskforce was raised.

The committee voted unanimously to draw up a resolution which will be presented to the entire city council for approval. The resolution will be to create the Medical Marijuana Task force in San Diego. The task force among other things would be tasked with providing clarification and suggested guidance and regulations for collectives and patients in San Diego. It was also announced that there would be three medical cannabis patients on the task force.

However Mayor Jerry Sanders' office announced that they would not allow the police department or any other department reporting to the Mayor's office to participate in the taskforce because they would like to see the task force made up of only officials and not patients (citizens).

Thursday July 30th, after we contacted the Mayor's office for comment, Mr. Ron Lacey from Mayor Jerry Sanders' office issued the following statement:

"Based on the Mayor’s philosophy he feels the City Council, working with city planners along with input from affected citizens as well as dispensary operators can formulate a plan that can address everybody’s needs.
Mayor Jerry Sanders is not opposed to medical marijuana."

We were not able to get further comment from the Mayor about why the San Diego Police department will not be sending a representative to the Task Force.

Without the direct involvement and participation of both the Mayor's office and all relevant departments, the task force's recommendation will fall on deaf ears, patients will continue to suffer, and law enforcement will continue to operate under vague laws.

My letter to Mayor Jerry Sanders:

Dear Mayor Jerry Sanders,

Thank you for the recent statement in support of Marijuana as Medicine. Although it is nice to know that in theory your office supports medical marijuana, it would be even better to actually see this support materialize into action.

This Wednesday a representative of your office at the Public Safety meeting where the task force was discussed announced that the Police Department or any other department under your authority would not be allowed to participate in the task force.

I respectfully urge you to reconsider your position on the issue and allow the Police Department and any other relevant agency / departments to have representation on the soon to be established Medical Cannabis Task Force.

The Medical Cannabis Task Force is a crucial part of providing the long awaited clarification for patients. If the departments that report to your office are not allowed to participate, especially the police department, then the fear is that the police who are tasked with enforcing these murky laws will continue to harass patients and collectives, rather than listen to the recommendations of the task force.

Patients need protections, collectives need clarity, and law enforcement needs to be properly trained on Cannabis as Medicine.

Eugene Davidovich

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