Medical marijuana advocates unveiled a proposed ballot measure this week for the City of Imperial Beach that would create zoning and operational standards for medical cannabis dispensing collectives and cooperatives.
Medical marijuana patients and advocates with San Diego Americans for Safe Access, a local chapter of the nation’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group, filed the Safe Access Ordinance of Imperial Beach with the City Clerk’s office on Monday afternoon March 5. If passed, the measure would repeal the City’s existing ban on dispensaries and create zoning restrictions and operational requirements for facilities operating in the City.
The move came after the IB city council passed a dispensary ban last year, and amid Justice Department raids and threats against landlords and public officials, which have resulted in more than 200 facilities closing their doors throughout the county in less then four months.
For years, patients and advocates in Imperial Beach attended city council meetings, wrote letters, and made phone calls asking for compassion and respect for state law. Instead of listening to their constituents and the will of California voters, IB city council approved the most egregious ban in the county in July of last year.
The ban prohibits any facility where more then three medical marijuana patients meet or congregate collectively and cooperatively to cultivate or distribute marijuana for medical purposes, from operating anywhere within city, even in the privacy of their own home, in direct opposition to what state law authorized.
“The citizens of Imperial Beach deserve safe, reasonable, and reliable access in their neighborhood. The unconstitutional ban has forced hundreds of sick and dying patients to travel long distances to obtain their medicine and has completely frustrated the purpose and intent of Prop 215 which voters in IB passed with overwhelming support in 1996,” said Marcus Boyd vice chair of San Diego ASA. “This measure will give us an opportunity to ask the voters again whether they support safe access to medical marijuana for qualified patients and if approved, will create a means for patients to safely obtain their medicine in the City.”
Within 15 days of filing, the City is required to provide a ballot title and summary for the proposed measure which will be printed in the Imperial Beach and South County Eagle and Times, a local circulating newspaper. After the printing, advocates will begin the signature gathering process.
Once all the required signatures are gathered, they will be submitted to the County Registrar of Voters for verification. After verification, the city council will have an opportunity to consider the ordinance and can adopt it as law rather then spending the money to send it to the ballot.