Tuesday, April 20, 2010

La Jolla Comedy Store - Comedy Show TONIGHT!

TODAY on 4/20 COME SEE the Medical Marijuana ExtravaGANJA –at the La Jolla Comedy Store Doors Open 8:30pm – Show starts at 9pm!

La Jolla Comedy Store
916 Pearl St. La Jolla, CA 92037

Howard Dover, The Comedy Store, San Diego Americans for Safe Access and NUG Magazine presents a night of comedy!

This is a 21+ Event.
The show starts at 9 pm and doors open at 8:30. Get there early as you definitely want to be part of this Medical Marijuana Comedy EXTRAVAGANJA brought to you by San Diego ASA, NUG Magazine, and Howard Dover.

La Jolla Comedy Store is located at 916 Pearl St., 92037. - (858) 454-9176.
The show will feature the Star Comedian Howard Dover as well as others!
Check out Howard Dover's site at http://www.howarddover.com

from "Weeds" Comedian lil G www.myspace.com/comedianlilg

From the tonight show and the jimmy kimmel show Jason Gillearn www.irishcomic.com

Tony Hinchcliffe (nbc's hit show "Heroes", and opens for Sam Tripoli around the world.)
Jayson Thibaux, Dan Murphy and much more!!

Tickets are only $10, cash only at the door or for more info contact Eugene at (619) 446-9786.
Our thanks to San Diego ASA and NUG Magazine for their support.

Proceeds benefit San Diego ASA.
Doors open at 8:30 pm. See you there!

San Diego Americans for Safe Accesswww.SafeAccessSD.org

Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

Thursday, April 15, 2010

James Stacy Federal San Diego Medical MarijuanaTrial Update

James Stacy, a legitimate medical cannabis patient and founding member of Movement in Action Collective which was raided on 9/9/9 by Bonnie Dumanis and her Cross Jurisdictional Narcotics Task Force (NTF) is facing Federal charges and the possibility of life in prison for simply following state law.

Last year an undercover detective came in to the collective pretending to be a legitimate patient. The detective presented a current and authentic medical marijuana letter of recommendation as well as a CA drivers license. After completing all the required membership agreements and going through the member screening process, he joined the collective and purchased a small amount of medicine.

According to the police reports, while in the collective, the detective asked whether he could contribute to the effort in other ways besides financially reimbursing the collective for the medicine. James explained to him that he could work at the collective, help out, and contribute in other ways.

In a recent San Diego City Beat Article, Dave Maas wrote that “Stacy says he did the due diligence: He researched the prosecutorial policies articulated by Holder, hired a lawyer to walk him through the process and corresponded with the California Secretary of State’s (SOS) office on how to file for “public benefit” status, the technical term for a California nonprofit. The SOS even provided him with a copy of the state Attorney General’s guidelines for running a collective. Unlike many of the other collectives where the San Diego Regional Narcotics Task Force ran stings, Stacy opted for a low-profile model because, he says, “I didn’t want people who didn’t need to know to have it in their face.”

Less than 2 months later on 9/9/9, the San Diego NTF, raided James’ collective, arrested him, and charged him with sales, cultivation, and manufacturing of cannabis, during the raid, at the collective the NTF detectives found a registered firearm and have charged James with possession of the firearm in connection with running an “illegal operation”.

The collective was operating in full compliance with state law, and the US Attorney office has suggested that they agree with that fact. Kasha Kastillo the federal public defender representing James in this case, has filed numerous motions attempting to get the case dismissed or at the least sent to state court, with no prevail.

Although James suffers from daily chronic pain, he has complied with all requirements of his federal indictment including not using medical cannabis, which has taken a negative toll on his life. In a recent hearing James’ attorney asked the court to allow James to medicate. San Diego ASA was at the hearing to hear the prosecution's demand that as a result of this request James be drug tested weekly.

The Judge explained to both sides that he could not give authorization for James to medicate as this was Federal Court and marijuana was still considered an illegal substance but at the same time refused to implement the drug testing requirements.

James next hearing is April 21, 2010 at 3:00pm in Courtroom 15. Come out to the San Diego Federal Courthouse at 940 Front St. San Diego CA, 92101 to support James Stacy in court.

This hearing is critical to the case as it is when the Judge will decide whether to allow James to use his medical marijuana defense at trial.

James Stacy’s trial is currently scheduled to begin on April 26, 2010 in San Diego Federal Court, 940 Front St San Diego CA 92101. Today James told San Diego ASA that his attorney tells him the trial might be postponed till August. We will continue to keep a close eye on James’ case and update the community if the dates change.

How you can help James Stacy Today:

1. Help HR 3939 Pass! This is new Federal Legislation known as the “Truth in Trials” act, which would allow Federal defendants to present the medical marijuana defense in federal court. One in four Americans now lives in a state with laws governing medical marijuana. Unfortunately, law-abiding citizens can still be prosecuted on federal marijuana-related charges as Mr. Stacy is being prosecuted in San Diego. Even with the Obama Administration’s new guidelines, federal prosecutors can still block defendants from showing that they were in compliance with state law.

The “Truth in Trials” Act, H.R. 3939, would end this injustice by ensuring that federal defendants could present evidence showing that they were following state law. Introduced by US Representative Sam Farr, this important legislation would give law-abiding citizens the ability to defend themselves in federal court. Urge your Member of Congress to cosponsor "Truth in Trials" today by completing and submitting the following online form CLICK HERE TO URGE CONGRESS TO PASS HR 3939

2. Send James an email of support letting him know that the community is behind him 100% in this difficult time, that we will be there in court to support him throughout the trial, that his fight is our fight and that we admire, appreciate, and support James standing up for our rights against this injustice! James can be reached at movementinaction@gmail.com

3. Donate to James, to help him and his family get through this nightmare. Visit his website and click on the DONATE link! http://movementinaction.org/donte/

    To find out more about James’ case please visit www.movementinaction.org

    Eugene Davidovich
    San Diego Americans for Safe Access

    Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
    Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    San Diego ASA Meeting Update

    By: Eugene Davidovich, 4/14/2010

    SAN DIEGO – On April 13th the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access held their monthly meeting at the Pt. Loma Public Library. The location was great! A state of the art conference room that fits over 120 people, with comfy modern chairs, and perfect lighting. The problem was getting into the actual room on time.

    Although the meeting was supposed to start at 6:00pm, when we got to the location, we were told that another group was still using the room and might be running a little late. When we inquired further, we found out it was the Citizens Review Board, a police oversight committee that was meeting in the room.

    Closer to 6pm, as there was already a small crowd gathered in the Library lobby outside the Community Room where out meeting was to be held, a gentleman dressed in civilian clothes, wearing a badge and a gun came out of the room and explained that they were running late and were in the middle of discussing a very important case. He and another lady from the group profusely apologized for the delay they were causing us. At 6:30 we were finally able to get into the room.

    With the help of pretty much everyone who came, we rearranged all the chairs and desks in the room in a matter of minutes to accommodate our meeting and kicked the meeting off!

    We began with a brief discussion of the National ASA News Letter. After the newsletter discussion we cut the cake, provided courtesy of Rich and Carol in celebration of the recent victory in my case (People v Davidovich).

    We went on to discuss AB 2650 and the bill’s defeat at the California Assembly Committee on Public Health. This was a bill that would have effectively banned medical marijuana dispensaries in California requiring buffer zones between collective and a laundry list of “sensitive uses” such as churches, schools, youth center, etc. The bill did not pass the committee in part thanks to the lobbying efforts of Don Duncan from Americans for Safe Access.

    Following the newsletter discussion and AB 2650, Lance Rogers, Attorney at Law, and council for Jovan Jackson, a medical marijuana patient recently acquitted of all charges by a jury of 12 peers, spoke about recent Code Compliance visits to collectives and patients’ homes. He mentioned there has been reports of both collective facilities as well as personal homes of patients, being targeted for Code Compliance visits and inspections. Mr. Rogers suggested that without a subpoena, court order, or search warrant, these inspectors did not have to be allowed in and urged that any such visits be handled very carefully and preferably in the presence of an attorney. Mr. Rogers can be reached at 619-232-2311

    The next speaker was Stephen Whitburn, an active member of the San Diego (City) Medical Marijuana Task Force and former candidate for San Diego City Council. Mr. Whitburn provided an update on the work the task force has done in the last few months as well as the recommendations they provided to the San Diego City Council. All the Task Force meeting notes, agedas, and recommendations are available on the Task Force’s website: http://www.sandiego.gov/medicalmarijuana/meetings/

    Mr. Whitburn also shared with us the recent start of his campaign for San Diego County Board of Supervisors, District 4. He explained his views on the issues that need to be addressed in San Diego County and that the County should be governed with transparency, debate, and the involvement of the community, all of which are currently lacking or missing with the Board of Supervisors.

    Mr. Whitburn’s positions and campaign details can be found at his website: http://www.stephenwhitburn.com/

    Following Mr. Whitburn, we heard from Dan Murphy, a patient, advocate, and Americans for Safe Access member who came up and shared his views on the movement and urged people to stand up, get involved, and be counted.

    The proposed San Diego County Ordinance and the community’s response was the next topic of discussion. We went over in detail the points which are illegal and unnecessary in the ordinance that were taken from the ASA, ACLU, and DPA reactions to the proposed ordinance:

    • Police Department / Sheriff should not regulate collectives.
    • Unreasonable buffer zones are not necessary.
    • Patient Privacy Must Be protected.
    • Ban on cannabis infused foods (edibles)
    • Narrows and changes definition of qualified patient

    Finally, we heard from Attorney at Law Bahar Ansari, who discussed the Jury instruction used in my case (People v. Davidovich) as well as a few highlights from the trial. Ms. Ansari can be contacted at: 619-787-0604

    Here are some events coming up in the next couple week:

    • 4/16 – North County ASA Meeting
             - 950 E. Vista Way Ste. A2 - Vista, Ca 92084
    • 4/19 - DAY OF ACTION
              - 9:30am Joseph Nunes Sentencing – Federal Courthouse 940 Front St.
              - 12-2pm – Protest against DEA Raids – Federal Courthouse 940 Front St.
    • 4/20 - ExtravaGanja MMJ Comedy Show
              - La Jolla Comedy Store – 916 Pearl St 92037
              - $10 tickets, 21+, 2 drink min.
    • 4/26 – James Stacy Federal Medical Marijuana Trial
              - 9:00am 940 Front St.

    Thank you to everyone for coming to the meeting and for being patient. Next Month San Diego ASA meeting will be held on May 11, location to be announced soon!

    San Diego Americans for Safe Accesswww.SafeAccessSD.org

    Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
    Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    San Diego ASA Meeting TONIGHT - 4/13 - 6pm Pt. Loma Library

    Our monthly meeting will be held TODAY from 6:00PM-7:30pm - 4/13/2010 at the Pt. Loma Public Library located on 3701 Voltaire Street San Diego, CA 92107

    WHAT: Monthly San Diego ASA Meeting
    WHEN: April 13, 2010 – 6pm – 7:30pm
    WHERE: Pt. Loma Public Library - 3701 Voltaire Street San Diego, CA 92107

    What to expect:

    • Latest National News on Medical Marijuana
    • San Diego County Ordinance Update
    • San Diego City Ordinance / Medical Marijuana Task Force Update
    • Attorney Lance Rogers discusses “Code Compliance Visits”
    • Attorney Bahar Ansari Discusses People V. Davidovich Trial
    • Opportunity to get involved!
    • Special Guests

    See you there!

    Eugene Davidovich
    T: 619-621-8446
    San Diego Americans for Safe Access

    Get Involved, get active, make a difference!

    Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Oppose AB 2650 – Protect patients’ access statewide!

    April 10th, 2010, Posted by Don Duncan

    On Tuesday (April 13, 2010) , the California Assembly Committee on Public Health will discuss AB 2650, bill that would require that medical cannabis collectives, cooperatives, and growers be located at least 1,000 feet away from a laundry list of “sensitive uses” everywhere in the state. The bill was introduced unexpectedly this week by Assembly Member Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo). AB 2650 is sponsored by the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORCA), a law enforcement lobby organization that opposes medical cannabis, and mirrors a controversial ordinance recently adopted in the City of Los Angeles.

    ASA opposes AB 2650, and we are calling on our members in California to tell their Assembly representatives on the committee to vote no. Find out if your Assembly representative is on the Public Health Committee, and tell him or her to oppose AB 2650!

    AB 2650 requires legal collectives and cooperatives to be located more than 1,000 feet from schools, parks, libraries, places of worship, child care facilities, youth centers, drug treatment centers, and other collectives or cooperatives. This is unnecessary to protect public welfare, and will make finding a location for a legal collective or cooperative unduly burdensome in most jurisdictions.  It also serves to usurp the authority of city and county government to make ordinary land use decisions based on the local circumstances.

    ASA is the nation’s largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. We work in partnership with state, local and national legislators to overcome barriers and create policies that improve access to cannabis for patients and researchers. Crime statistics and the accounts of local officials surveyed by ASA indicate that crime is actually reduced by the presence of a collective; and complaints from citizens and surrounding businesses are either negligible or are significantly reduced with the implementation of local regulations.

    In Oakland, where collectives have been licensed since 2004, City Administrator Barbara Killey, notes that “The areas around the dispensaries may be some of the safest areas of Oakland now because of the level of security, surveillance, etc…since the ordinance passed.” In the City of Los Angeles, Police Chief Charlie Beck told reporters and the City Council that the claim that patients’ associations attract crime “doesn’t really bear out.” In fact, the overall crime rate in Los Angeles dropped during the proliferation of collectives and cooperatives in that city. Given that effective local regulations address public safety concerns, there is no public safety rationale for a statewide policy keeping collectives and cooperatives away from sensitive uses.

    This is not just an issue of public safety. Most of California’s legal medical cannabis patients rely on dispensing collectives or cooperatives to obtain the doctor-recommended medicine they need to treat the symptoms of HIV/AIDS, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, and other serious illnesses. These patients’ associations are legal under California law, and California Attorney General Jerry Brown published guidelines in August 2008 that state “a properly organized and operated collective of cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law,” provided the facility substantially complies with the guidelines. It is already hard enough to find a location for a legally organized and operated medical cannabis association. AB 2650 will make this task even more difficult – thus diminishing safe and legal access to medicine in communities statewide.

    A restriction like that imposed by AB 2650 may be motivated by a misunderstanding about the state law concerning patients’ associations or by ambivalence about medical cannabis use in general. ASA calls on members of the Public Safety Committee to look past the stigma that sometimes underlies the debate about medical cannabis regulations, and to vote no on AB 2650 – a bill that is unnecessary for public welfare, interferes in local regulation, and is harmful to legal medical cannabis patients.

    Find out if your Assembly representative is on the Public Safety Committee and what you can do to help.

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    Davidovich: My Medical Marijuana Case Continues Post-Trial

    Davidovich: My Medical Marijuana Case Continues Post-Trial
    SDNN - 4/9/2010

    In a resounding defeat of San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a jury of 12 on March 25 found me not guilty on all counts, after less than four hours of deliberation. The jurors unanimously determined that I acted lawfully and in accordance with state law when it came to all the charges against me; sales, possession, transportation and possession of concentrated cannabis.

    They also had a thing or two to say about the D.A.’s investigation and prosecution in this case.

    After the verdict was read, two jurors met me outside the courtroom and said, “Eugene, we all believed in you, you are a good man.” Days after the trial, I received an e-mail from another juror in my case, a part of which reads, “This was the most ridiculous thing that I have ever seen! Shame on the SDPD! The reason that we decided in your favor was because the prosecutor just didn’t prove her case (she was so annoying), and the police work on your case was nothing but shoddy. I just want to let you know that I am so sorry that you had to go through this nightmare.”

    Read more: http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2010-04-09/blog/a-more-perfect-union/davidovich-my-medical-marijuana-case-continues-post-trial#ixzz0ke50VHi1

    Tiffani Kjeldergaard’s “RETURN OF PROPERTY MOTION”

    By: Tiffani Kjeldergaard

    Medical Marijuana patient and “Pot Farmer” (as the San Diego sheriffs office stated in their press release June 20, 2009), Potrero resident Tiffani Kjeldergaard went to court, April 2, 2010 to request her medical marijuana medicine be returned from San Diego’s District Attorney.

    Kjeldergaard was arrested on June 20, 2009 for growing and using her medical marijuana while on probation. During a probation check at her residence, Kjeldergaard was awakened from her Saturday afternoon nap by 7 sheriff officers and 2 probation officers entering the bedroom. She was instantly handcuffed and the home was searched. Officers saw Kjeldergaard’s smoking utensils and some marijuana and a small garden of 7 plants under 2 inches tall. Several clone cuttings were also present but law enforcement does not consider them plants unless they have a root ball.

    Kjeldergaard has had her physician Dr. Sterner’s and his verbal and written recommendations dating back to 2005. She has been a patient of his since then and her disease would never decrease in the painful stages, it is a progressive disease resulting in physical disabilities.

    Kjeldergaard was taken to Las Colinas women’s facility in Santee where she remained on a “No Bail Hold” which means her duration was unknown. After several court appearances, a lockdown of Swine Flu that cancelled court dates 30 days, represented by a public defender named Michael Berberich, Kjeldergaard was coerced to plead guilty by her attorney.

    San Diego East County court has a strange way of doing things, you are to plead guilty first and they will tell you your consequence after. No knowledge of your fate is given prior to your plea. That seems wrong and illegal.

    Mr. Berberich convinced Kjeldergaard to comply. She pled guilty. She was then disclosed that the San Diego probation department was recommending 3 years in a state correctional facility…that meant prison!

    Kjeldergaard suffers from several injuries that are horse related, she has an auto immune disease called Rheumatoid arthritis and she has a shoulder replacement that troubles her daily. Kjeldergaard is also on Methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug for the disease) and suffers digestion and appetite issues.

    Kjeldergaard suffered in the jail for 132 days. She was not given her Marinol, vicodin and trazadone as prescribed by her physician Dr. Peter Hein of Kaiser- Bostonia, nor was she given her Methotrexate or Plaquenil as prescribed by her physician Dr. Motomedi of Kaiser- Baker Hill. Her health deteriorated in the cold and damp cells and she had pain every minute of every day.

    After several weeks of court dates and continuances Kjeldergaard had been spending her time in the law library at the jail. She discovered enough legal support of innocence to provide her attorney Michael Berberich, at that time she requested to withdraw her plea of guilty and requested that the judge be able to review her new findings, and possibly release her dropping all charges. Berberich refused.

    Kjeldergaard fired Mr. Michael Berberich and retained James Pasto Esq. He presented the information to the judge yet, the judge ordered Kjeldergaard’s release date is October 29, 2009 as a sentence.

    Upon release Kjeldergaard went to all her doctors for continued pain she started having in the jail. Excruciating body aches like she is bruised all over and she loses the use of her arms for periods of time because the pain to lift them is excruciating. Kjeldergaard’s physician Dr. Motomedi is a rheumatologist for Kaiser and she diagnosed Kjeldergaard with Fibromyalgia which is a terribly painful chronic problem that will never go away. Kjeldergaard requested a motion to the San Diego Superior Court for a probation modification that would allow her the use and possession of medical marijuana, pursuant to the People v Tilehkooh case. Kjeldergaard was granted the right to have medical marijuana with the condition that San Diego probation department finds the recommendation valid.

    Upon meeting with probation immediately after court, Kjeldergaard was told by her probation officer Jo Lane that the recommendation was not considered valid. Lane explained that if Kjeldergaard has any prescription medication without a prescription, it is illegal. Lane stated that the recommendation was only considered valid if Kjeldergaard had a county MMJ card. Although the card is a voluntary program, Kjeldergaard was forced to have to retain one in order to be able to use her healthiest pain medicine.

    Kjeldergaard was suffering and continuously getting sick from only having opiates as a pain relief. She does not like the effects that the opiates have on her thoughts and concentration, her concern that the drugs are causing damage to her kidneys, stomach and liver or enlarging her heart are all valid. Her worries about an increasing need for more and more pills to help her pain and how it would become too much on her low immune system and she’d become very ill and die. Medical Marijuana did for her what all the vicodin could do and without the damage to organs in her body or risks to her life.

    Kjeldergaard received her county card and brought it to San Diego probation department and was instructed by Jo Lane the she was now allowed to have her medical marijuana possession and medicate once again. Yet she was legal and within her rights on the day of her arrest. Kjeldergaard requested her bongs, pipes, and marijuana be returned at which point the probation department scheduled a day and handed over her bongs and pipes. Probation said the marijuana was not available to hand over and I would need a court order to get it back from the DEA.

    Kjeldergaard has enjoyed her victory of getting her bongs and pipes back. She is still terrified to own or grow any medical marijuana for fear of another arrest. Kjeldergaard stated, “People tell me, Tiff you should grow a big garden and smoke all you want you are legal now you got your card!” I tell them, “Hell I was legal the day they took me away for 4 months! I don’t fricken believe them”

    Kjeldergaard’s home and ranch have been raided 3 times since her release and she has not been taken into custody. Kjeldergaard believes, “It is a violation of our 8th Amendment Bill of Rights that myself and other patients are being subjected to “cruel and unusual punishment” in that we are forced to suffer without our medical marijuana. Forced to take opiates, use alcohol, maybe other drugs, that in a not so far off future will kill us or destroy our lives.”

    On April 2, 2010, Kjeldergaard return of property motion was granted for all items with the exception of the marijuana. Kjeldergaard received her grow equip, books, medical recommendation, and other Proposition 215 and SB420 papers and guidelines all of which were seized. No plants or dried product was returned. Kjeldergaard’s attorney Mike Dealy is filing a writ, to appeal the return of cannabis plants and dried cannabis.

    On another note, Judge Deddeh did not feel comfortable determining if it was a violation of Kjeldergaard’s civil rights when probation added the "Not to use marijuana with or without a recommendation". The Judge supported that it was not lawful just in the fact he would not rule that it was legal.

    Kjeldergaard’s attorney was pleased and felt there is enough on the record to be reviewed.

    Visit http://www.flyingpaintranch.com/FREE_2_FARM_420_Medical_Marijuana.htm for more information about Tiffany’s case!

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    Take Action Today! Send San Diego County a Letter RE Proposed MMJ Ordinance

    TODAY, we need everyone to email the below letter to all of the following email addresses:


    Although the official Public Input deadline has passed, we still have time to let the Supervisors and those responsible for developing medical marijuana regulations in the county know that the community wants to see a legal, constitutional ordinance, that keeps patients interest at forefront, not local law enforcement.

    Write your own letter, use the letter below as a template, or ask a friend to help you write one, but don’t just idly sit by while the County of San Diego attempts to subvert the will of the people. The City of San Diego is on the right track to sensible regulations as they have created a Task Force that has patients and members of the community on it, all of whom have weighed and came up with recommendations for the San Diego City Council.

    Why has the County of San Diego refused to adopt their own task force or to follow the recommendations of the San Diego City task force? I believe the answer is, they want to quickly adopt an ordinance which will influence all the other small cities in the county to follow suit which intern may weigh heavily on the Ordinance the City of San Diego is developing. The official excuse is they are trying to hurry in time for the moratorium currently enacted in the unincorporated areas of the county to expire.

    We need to stay involved and on top of both the San Diego County regulation development process, as well as the development of such ordinances in every city within the county. Take 10 minutes today to send the below letter to the supervisors. If you have already sent them a letter, send them a follow up to see what they are doing to change the proposed ordinance.


    Eugene Davidovich

    April 5, 2010

    Eric Gibson
    Director, Department of Planning and Land Use
    County Administration Center
    1600 Pacific Highway, Room 335
    San Diego, CA 92101


    To Mr. Gibson:

    As a resident of San Diego County, I am writing to request an extension of the 30-day public comment period regarding the Department of Planning and Land Use’s Medical Marijuana Collectives County Code and Zoning Ordinance (POD 09-007) until April 30, 2010.

    Although the plan may have technically been available to the public on March 3, 2010 – the date of the memo – medical marijuana patients and advocates only became aware of it upon being contacted by a North County Times reporter Monday, March 29, 2010.

    It is hard to imagine that this very limited level of exposure to the public would satisfy the Department that it had allowed for 30 days of public comment.

    Moreover, the Department’s draft ordinance clearly suffers from a lack of input. The excessively strict nature of the ordinance suggests that the county failed to consult with any patients or caregivers at all. Patients would most certainly have pointed out the following concerns:

    The ordinance is a de facto ban. A rule that would restrict dispensaries from existing within 1,000 feet from a laundry list of so-called “sensitive uses,” including any residence, makes this ordinance a de facto ban. This would relegate facilities to remote, outlying areas, making it difficult for patients to access their medicine, especially those with mobility issues.

    The ordinance puts the wrong agency in charge. The licensing authority should not be the Sheriff's Department, but the County Department of Health or other more appropriate agency.

    The ordinance fails to protect patient privacy. Draft provisions would allow the Sheriff’s Department unfettered access (without subpoena) to private patient records, financial transaction records, and records indicating the source of supply of medical marijuana. Such provisions place both patients and providers at risk of unnecessary local and, more significantly, federal interference.

    The ordinance unnecessarily restricts patient choice. Many patients have trouble smoking marijuana or simply prefer not to smoke it. The restriction against edible forms of marijuana is unnecessary. It directly conflicts with patient needs without any demonstrable benefit to the community.

    The ordinance discriminates against people with a prior conviction. A past felony conviction does not prevent illness, nor should it be a barrier to medical care – or be used to restrict a person’s lawful, collective participation with other medical marijuana patients. This is not least because many patients have a past conviction for activity that has been deemed lawful since 1996 under the Compassionate Use Act.

    Only clear regulations developed with the input of all concerned parties can balance the needs of the whole community – to both ensure safe access to medical marijuana and address public order concerns.

    In conclusion, I strongly urge the Department of Planning and Land Use to extend the public comment period on the Medical Marijuana Collectives County Code and Zoning Ordinance (POD 09-007) until April 30, 2010.



    Cc: Supervisors, San Diego County Board
    Jonathan Farace

    1/20 San Diego City Planning Commission Meeting

    To see all the San Diego ASA News Briefs visit: YouTube.com/SafeAccessSD