TAKE ACTION TODAY: Medical Marijuana Collectives County Code and Zoning Ordinance (POD 09-007), Request to Extend Public Comment Period to April 30, 2010

Today is April 2 – the final day of the San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use’s public comment period on the awful draft mmj dispensary ordinance. In case we are not successful in getting the public comment period extended, let’s make sure our objections on the record. I’ve draft a letter based on the comments SD ASA sent out earlier this week.

Please mail your letter in! And help get the word out!! It’s got to be TODAY people!!

TODAY, we need everyone to email the below letter to all of the following email addresses:
joseph.farace@sdcounty.ca.gov
dplu@sdcounty.ca.gov
Greg.cox@sdcounty.ca.gov
dianne.jacob@sdcounty.ca.gov
Pam.slater@sdcounty.ca.gov
ron-roberts@sdcounty.ca.gov
bill.horn@sdcounty.ca.gov

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April 2, 2010

Eric Gibson
Director, Department of Planning and Land Use
County Administration Center
1600 Pacific Highway, Room 335
San Diego, CA 92101
dplu@sdcounty.ca.gov

Re: Medical Marijuana Collectives County Code and Zoning Ordinance (POD 09-007), Request to Extend Public Comment Period to April 30, 2010

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.

Respectfully,

[Your name
and Address]

Cc: Supervisors, San Diego County Board

Greg.cox@sdcounty.ca.gov
dianne.jacob@sdcounty.ca.gov
Pam.slater@sdcounty.ca.gov
ron-roberts@sdcounty.ca.gov
bill.horn@sdcounty.ca.gov

Jonathan Farace

joseph.farace@sdcounty.ca.gov

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