Lemon Grove to Vote on Two Medical Marijuana Measures Tuesday

A citizen's initiative and the city's alternative measure are on the local ballot.

Lemon Grove voters will be asked Tuesday to decide whether medical marijuana dispensaries should operate in the city and, if so, how to best regulate the businesses.

Voters will find two measures on the local ballot.

Proposition T is authored by the medical marijuana campaign group Citizens for Patients Rights, and was placed on the ballot following a petition drive.

In response, the city offered Proposition Q, which seeks further regulations and gives the city additional controls over the businesses.

[To read the full text of both propositions, click on the pdfs in the media box.]

And while the measures are similar in nature, opinions about them couldn’t be farther apart.

Backers say storefront dispensaries allow seriously ill people and that Lemon Grove has already shown its support by placing Proposition T on the ballot.

Opponents say the businesses are illegal, an invitation to crime, and are used by recreational marijuana users.

An Oct. 18 community forum organized by local pastors to air concerns about the businesses operating in Lemon Grove was dismissed as “reefer madness propaganda” by San Diego Americans for Safe Access.

About two dozen people, including seven proponents of medical marijuana, attended the forum hosted by the Lemon Grove Clergy Association. Supporters were angered that they were not invited to present their viewpoint.

“It’s a farce, it’s ridiculous,” Cynara Velazquez said about the panel discussion. “It’s obviously biased and one-sided.”

Pastor Mark Stapleton of Cornerstone Community Church said the local clergy organized the forum to discuss potential impacts the business could have on the city.

“We feel like there are some real-life issues associated with the presence of medical marijuana dispensaries,” he said.

Velazquez, campaign coordinator for Citizens for Patient Rights, criticized panelists for not knowing details about the measure’s safeguards. She was frustrated that some of the talk focused on minors and marijuana.

“Nobody’s goal is to allow access to youth,” she said.

Opponents aren't just worried about use among young people, but perception.

“I’m very concerned about the impact that normalizing drug use has on our kids,” said panelist Rebecca Hernandez.

Steve Browne, owner of Courtesy TV on Broadway, said he doesn’t think storefront dispensaries will be good for downtown.

“The city needs to work on what’s going to bring businesses in,” he said. “As a business owner, I would not want to be next door [to a dispensary].”

Critics also point to the measure as being part of a well-funded campaign brought to town by paid signature gatherers, not a hometown effort.

Lemon Grove is among five local municipalities that were targeted by the organization’s expansion effort in the wake of a massive federal crackdown that closed commercial cooperatives in the county last year.

California voters approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes in 1996, but possession or sale of the drug remains a federal crime. In question is whether the state’s medical marijuana industry is at odds with the federal Controlled Substances Act, which prohibits the sale and distribution of cannabis.

“It is important to note that for-profit, commercial marijuana operations are illegal not only under federal law, but also under California law,” said Andre Birotte Jr, the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, following the 2011 crackdown. “While California law permits collective cultivation of marijuana in limited circumstances, it does not allow commercial distribution through the storefront model we see across California.”

Cathy Bliss November 05, 2012 at 07:03 PM
The purpose of law in a democratic society is to maximize human freedom while ensuring safety and social harmony. Just law only limits individual freedoms where people’s choices otherwise would cause harm or limit the freedom of others. Law for any other reason tends towards imperialism and away from democracy and self-government. The current prohibitionary laws regarding medical cannabis excessively limit choices that are meaningful to human health and personal sovereignty for something that presents no substantial, realistic threats to society or citizens. The desire to keep medical cannabis inaccessible to those that need it is not warranted, is not in line with the desires of the majority of those affected and is directly opposed to the overwhelming body of relevant, unbiased, social and medical scientific findings on the topic. This desire represents a de-evolutionary movement, antithetical to the ideals of a self-governing, free society. As voters and concerned citizens it is our role to uphold the ideals of a free society by voting in favor of propositions and candidates that maximize individual freedom and science based law. For this reason I urge you to vote YES on Proposition T (Lemon Grove), Proposition W (Solana Beach), Proposition H (Del Mar) and Proposition S (Imperial Beach).
David B Secor November 05, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Medical Marijuana should be a state issue. The federal government's listing of cannabis as a Class 1 narcotic (like heroin) is the real crime. Congressmen, local officials, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, for-profit-prisons, Big pharma and others all make big money, get contributions or grants because cannabis is wrongly left on the Class 1 list. There is a marijuana arrest every 43 seconds in the US. Prisons are full of non-violent drug offenders, half of them in custody for marijuana violations. It costs taxpayers $50,000 per prisoner per year to house them. U.S. Attorney Birotte is a disingenuous disgrace as an attorney. No attorney who would charge or prosecute an individual on a MJ violation has any self-respect, no moral compass, has no interest in justice, and is concerned only with picking up an easy paycheck busting MJ users, legitimate growers and dispensaries rather than pursuing criminals, which might mean breaking a sweat. Biotte is a lowlife loser, a suit and tie don't change that, making a living throwing the very people who employ him (we taxpayers) in prison on MJ charges. He may use the Nazi "I am only following orders" excuse. The excuse of a spineless coward. Medical marijuana is now being used to treat veterans for PTSD. We KNOW it's effective for cancer patients, treatment of glaucoma, pain, nausea, MS. Sick people don't want addictive prescription drugs. Californians long ago said YES to medical MJ. Feds BUTT OUT!
Malcolm Kyle November 05, 2012 at 09:02 PM
An appeal to all Prohibitionists: Most of us know that individuals who use illegal drugs are going to get high—no matter what, so why do you not prefer they acquire them in stores that check IDs and pay taxes? Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists, and corrupt law enforcement officials is seriously compromising our future. Why do you wish to continue with a policy that has proven itself to be a poison in the veins of our once so "proud & free" nation? Even if you cannot bear the thought of people using drugs, there is absolutely nothing you, or any government, can do to stop them. We have spent 40 years and trillions of dollars on this dangerous farce; Prohibition will not suddenly and miraculously start showing different results. Do you actually believe you may personally have something to lose If we were to begin basing our drug policy on science & logic instead of ignorance, hate and lies? Maybe you're a police officer, a prison guard, or a local/national politician. Possibly you're scared of losing employment, overtime pay, the many kickbacks, and those regular fat bribes. But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies, vats of acid, and marauding thugs carrying gold-plated AK-47s with leopard-skinned gunstocks? Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your sycophantic prohibition-engendered mayhem.
Frank Mockery November 05, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Another voice of sanity speaks !!!
Summer Hemphill November 06, 2012 at 04:11 AM
VOTE YES on PROPOSITION T !!! Vote no on Proposition Q !!!


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