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Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative Comes to San Diego

San Diego, CA, December 08, 2010 --( Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative Coming to San Diego By Jeffrey Lake, Esq. and Lance Rogers, Esq.

Sponsored by the California Cannabis Coalition, the “Citizens for Safe Access Ordinance” (“CSAO”) . When the initiative receives enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, the citizens of San Diego will finally have the opportunity to do what the City has been unable to accomplish for over a year, enact reasonable regulations for the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana to the qualified patients of San Diego.

In 2009, it seemed as if the City would make a good faith attempt to enact such an ordinance. The City Council formed a Medical Marijuana Task Force chaired by Professor Alex Kreit of Thomas Jefferson School of Law to study the issues and make recommendations to the City Council. After receiving the Task Force’s recommendations, in May of 2010, the City Attorney’s Office submitted Draft Zoning Amendments for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to the City Council and Mayor’s Office for a vote. Although the Council has slated it for consideration in January, it remains doubtful that the Council will approve any medical marijuana ordinance at that time.

Therefore, as an alternative approach, the California Cannabis Coalition will take the issue directly to the voters at the next election via a ballot initiative. The “Citizens Safe Access Ordinance” will amend the San Diego City Municipal Code to regulate the operation medical marijuana centers within the City thereby protecting complying operators and their patients from the threat of civil or criminal litigation from the City Attorney’s Office based upon alleged land use violations of the City’s Municipal code.

The full text of the initiative is available at CCC’s website,

The most important provisions of the CSAO are summarized as follows:

The CSAO will authorize Medical Cannabis Centers to cultivate and dispense medical cannabis to qualified patients and primary caregivers.
Medical Cannabis Centers will be allowed in most Commercial and Industrial zones as long as they are not within 600 feet of schools, playgrounds, libraries, or day care centers; within 500 feet of residential rehabilitation facilities or other Cannabis Centers or located in residential buildings.
A cap will be placed on the number of Centers. Only those Centers with an approved Seller’s Permit issued by the California Board of Equalization on or before the date the initiative is approved for the ballot will be allowed to operate within the City.
Centers that meet the cap requirement will be allowed a three year grace period to comply with the requirements of the initiative.
Centers may relocate to any permissible zone at any time within the grace period as long as they meet the requirements of the initiative.
Operators of Cannabis Centers may transfer ownership or control of their Centers at any time as long as the Centers continue to meet the requirements of the initiative.
Center operators will be required to follow strict operational plans that require a detailed security plan, specific floor plans, limited hours of operation, and signage restrictions.
Persons with certain recent felony convictions may be disqualified from operating or working in a Cannabis Center. However, this does not include convictions for marijuana-related offenses.
Minors (under 18 years of age) will not be allowed on the premises of a Cannabis Center unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The consumption of cannabis or alcohol will not be allowed on the premises of any Center.

Contact Information
California Cannabis Coalition
Craig Beresh

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