San Diego County Medical Marijuana Ordinance Developed in Secret

Press Release March 31, 2010
Media Contact

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli at 213-291-4190 or Eugene Davidovich at 619-621-8446

San Diego — On Monday, March 29, the North County Times revealed a draft county ordinance that would create strict new rules for medical marijuana collective “facilities” in unincorporated areas. Advocacy groups and patients responded with shock and concern at the draconian proposal and at the fact that apparently no patients had been consulted during — or even informed of — the creation of the draft ordinance. The Board of Supervisors’ required public comment period is set to close Friday, April 2.

“San Diego County developed this draft ordinance in secret, without patient or public input. Having only leaked word of the draft ordinance on Monday, it’s unacceptable for the county to close the public comment period on Friday,” said Eugene Davidovich, San Diego Coordinator of Americans for Safe Access. “The public comment period must be extended so that patients, caregivers and other concerned residents can weigh in.”

“The ordinance as drafted threatens to cut off San Diego patients’ access to medical marijuana in the county by making compliance with the too-strict rules nearly impossible. We applaud the county for acknowledging the need for regulation, but the board must consider patients’ rights to safe access and privacy,” said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, Southern California deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance.

“Ensuring safe access for medical marijuana patients across the county is a matter of compassion. I strongly urge the county to consult with patients about their needs,” said the Reverend Canon Mary Moreno Richardson of San Diego’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative, the nation’s leading interfaith drug policy reform organization.

In stark contrast to the county actions, the city of San Diego has conducted a much more open process with significant input from patients, business owners, legal experts and community residents. Community advocates encourage the county to increase the transparency of the process and to extend the public comment period through the month of April.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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