Wednesday, September 9, 2009

DPA Press Release: SWAT-Style Raids on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in San Diego Come Day After City Council Acts to Regulate Dispensaries

Drug Policy Alliance
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Dion Markgraaf (619) 518-0776 September 9, 2009 Margaret Dooley-Sammuli (213) 291-4190

SWAT-Style Raids on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in San DiegoCome Day After City Council Acts to Regulate Dispensaries
Patients Condemn Tactics, Express Concern for Safe Access

SAN DIEGO – Several medical marijuana dispensaries were raided in San Diego today, after the City Council yesterday voted 6-1 to establish a taskforce to create dispensary regulations by early next year. Medical marijuana patients and advocates criticized the raids’ timing and tactics.

“These raids are unnecessary and unacceptable. Yesterday the City Council agreed to create local regulations for dispensaries. We could have those rules as early as January. So, why is law enforcement using SWAT-style tactics to try to strong arm dispensaries into closing today? Who’s running this place?” asked Dion Markgraaf, San Diego Coordinator of Americans for Safe Access. “District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is behind this, and the only thing she’s interested in is shutting down as many dispensaries as she can before her next campaign cycle.”

The San Diego City Council voted 6-1 last night to establish a task force to create regulations governing the supply of medical marijuana in San Diego. The 11-member committee will be comprised of medical marijuana patients, social service providers and dispensary operators, as well as a legal professional, a physician, a community planner, a small business owner, a member of law enforcement and a land use professional.

According to San Diego’s Channel 10, “The panel… was directed to make preliminary recommendations by the start of the year. The panel will be tasked with reviewing guidelines for medical marijuana patients and caregivers, the operation of dispensaries and growing cooperatives and the ground rules for police enforcement.”

“Local law enforcement says dispensaries are breaking the rules. But the truth is that San Diego has avoided establishing rules. Now that a taskforce is finally in the works, San Diego will have rules as early as next year,” said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “For some local elected officials, that may be bad timing. But for the people of this county who voted to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, it’s long overdue.

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