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La Mesans Will Vote on Medical Marijuana Initiative, Council Decides

The council chose not to enact a law regulating dispensaries and collectives immediately, but will let the people decide in November 2014.

La Mesans will have the chance to vote on a medical marijuana dispensary ordinance, after the city council voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve a resolution adding it to the ballot in November 2014.

The ordinance is based upon a certified petition that was filed with the city clerk last month. It contains the requisite number of signatures (3,041) needed to submit it to voters in the next statewide election.

The council was given three options on what to do with the ordinance: immediately enact it into law, choose to place it on the ballot for the next election, or order a report compiled by the City Attorney with information on the impact the ordinance would have for the City of La Mesa.

They chose not to order a report, deeming it unnecessary and redundant based on similar reports that already existed for other county municipalities.

The council heard from two medical marijuana advocates, who encouraged the council to enact the resolution right away, and to provide safe access to medical marijuana for patients that need it.

“I drink cannabis medicines to breathe. They keep me from suffocating,” said Vey Linville, advisory board member for SD Chapter of Americans for Safe Access. “They last about five hours so when I wake up I’m gurgling like an aquarium. I put drops in my tea. It’s kept me from avoiding a double lung transplant, and the truth is I’m getting better.  I have emphysema and I’m not supposed to get better, but I am just so you know.”

Linville, who lives in Spring Valley but told the council he’s “in La Mesa virtually every day,” is on an oxygen tank.

“I hope that I don’t strike anyone as scary or intimidating or someone that you wouldn’t want in your community. I’d like to think that I’m not,” he said.

Linville added that it wasn’t terribly difficult to gather the signatures. He said that if the ordinance was not immediately enacted, “there will be a long line of people at this podium, telling you things for and against.”

“I think it would make sense for all of us to avoid all that and enact a sensible regulation that will protect the community and take this and put in the plain light of day,” he told the council.

However, newly re-elected councilmember Ruth Sterling said: “I feel like that’s democracy – that we should not deny those lines for and against.  I think that would short circuit the process.”

The discussion then turned to whether or not a report should be ordered, further informing the council on what impacts the ordinance would have for the city.

City Attorney Glenn Sabine said that the report, which he would have compiled, would have had very little information that was not already available in other reports ordered for other cities in the county.

“The reports that have circulated around the county are essentially a legal analysis, and I can summarize it,” he said. “There’s a disagreement about the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) being in conflict with the Controlled Substances Act, and it’s over and over in the cases. And the appellate courts are disagreeing.”

Mayor Art Madrid was the lone ‘No’ vote on the motion, citing his desire to see a report as well.

“I for one am not a subject matter expert, and I would like to find out more information,” he said. “It may be just a boiler plate [analysis] of what other cities have done, but I’d still like to see how it would apply to La Mesa.”

Sabine clarified a question raised that by placing the ordinance on the ballot for the November 2014 election, the council in no way is endorsing the ordinance, or the existence of collectives within the city.

Additionally, there is no guarantee that even though the initiative is on the ballot, that it will remain on the ballot, pending litigation that continues in state and appellate courts.

“If we get to 2014 and because of the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act, federal law preempts local or state regulation, the reality is that this council may have an option to invalidate the initiative if it in fact, passes. Right now the state of the law is up in the air.”

Councilmember Ernie Ewin said: “It’s an open-ended thing all the way to the election. In the event that there is a significant shift in the fedral law or the state law, are we then allowed to pull the item from an election at a subsequent time?”

Sabine said that it’s up in the air.

“It may be deemed illegal. There could even be a court order to have the item pulled.”

In other council news:

Chief Ed Aceves presented the quarterly crime report, for Q3 2012.

The total crimes increased by nine percent from the same time period last year. However, the violent crime rate is down 12 percent. Specifically, the number of robberies dropped by nine percent from Q3 in 2011.

The number of property crimes rose from the same time in 2011, by 143 total crimes, which contributes to the higher overall rate. These crimes include burglary, theft and auto theft.  This increase also includes a massive 55 percent increase in residential burglaries since Q3 2011, however Aceves said that this is due to an unusually low number of burglaries over that time.

“Unfortunately in September we had our first homicide of 2012. Which was followed 13 days later by our second one. For statistical purposes, that gets recorded in the fourth quarter, but the bottom line is that is the first time in our city’s history where we’ve ever had two homicides that close together.”

“The one on Amarillo, we have arrested somebody and he is in custody awaiting the court process. The first homicide is still under investigation. It was the one on Fletcher Drive where someone was basically left in the middle of the street. Our detectives are combing over a mountain of evidence and I feel confident that we will come to a good conclusion in that one as well.”

Sterling asked if there was a way to increase police surveillance at Grossmont Center.

“We’ve had these purse snatchings, and El Cajon has a couple more police over there at their Parkway Plaza. I’m wondering if you can figure that out with the holidays approaching?” she said.

Aceves said that Parkway Plaza-Westfield actually pays two El Cajon police officers full-time salaries to patrol there. He said that decisions like that are up to the mall itself and it’s a fairly expensive proposition.

“We work very closely with Grossmont Center and obviously these most recent robberies are concerning,” he said. “We are working to address these. The two suspects who we believe are tied to all these have also done them in other areas, other shopping centers in San Diego County.”

Aceves also said that the police department is really stressing crime prevention aspects during the holiday season: paying attention, making yourself a harder target, not burying yourself in your cell phone, being alert as a shopper.

“And if you ever think something is suspicious, call us. We’ll have extra enforcement there over the holidays,” he said.

Kevin George November 14, 2012 at 06:42 PM
I hate to criticize Eric, but that was only half the meeting. The real fireworks started later. But I am thankful to see a La Mesa related article on the La Mesa Patch.
Batman November 14, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Did this Mr. Linville develop emphysema as a result of cigarette or marijuana smoking? You should keep your body healthy so you don't need to depend on drugs to stay alive. You can start by staying a way from cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana.
Linda Byerline November 14, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Emphysema isn't only caused by smoking. I don't know the man & was not at the meeting but you're making a ridiculous assumption. He has the option to use other narcotics to "help him" w/his severe pain while breathing. These options are opiates, legal heroin, & its more dangerous & counterproductive to any hopes of extending his life while maintaining a decent quality of life. Since he has emphysema the use of opiates will surely speed up his death & his remaining months will be less active & often in a drug induced stupor. There is a time and place for all medications & after working hospice for many years & seeing both sides of the coin, there are many illnesses where marijuana provide the person w/good quality of life during a painful & difficult time. It also helps these people w/no appetite to eat. Or you have opiates that take the pain, make them hallucinate, or put the person to sleep. They build tolerances requiring higher doses that can also kill them. they dont eat/drink. You need to give more medications to combat the side effects from the opiates. This all being said marijuana is not for every patient. I have known people who have abused the system so they can legally smoke pot. It will happen. But for those who truly need it as a medication it's a healthier choice than what is currently have available.
Kevin George November 14, 2012 at 10:46 PM
I listened to this guy last night and he doesn't use it for pain relief. He said he adds liquid marijuana ( ? his words) to his tea and it keeps him from suffocating. I had never heard anything like that before. Sounds very unusual to me.
Craig Maxwell November 14, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Hear, hear, Kevin! Especially since we have no other source for La Mesa news. The SDUT has abandoned the field, and La Mesa Today is a pro-city propaganda rag.
Kyla November 14, 2012 at 11:27 PM
The main cause of emphysema is long-term exposure to airborne irritants, including: Tobacco smoke Marijuana smoke Air pollution Manufacturing fumes Coal and silica dust http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/emphysema/DS00296/DSECTION=causes While there are other causes, it would be pretty ironic if the cause and the relief were one and the same.
Patrick Shane November 15, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Estimates show that marijuana is America’s number one cash crop. However, marijuana remains untaxed. This is a new source of income for our nation, an income we desperately need. Over 500 of the nation’s top economic professors have shared their opinion in supporting the removing the prohibition and imposing the taxation and regulation of marijuana as a way to slow the federal deficit. Ending marijuana prohibition would save the US $7.7 BILLION annually. That is nearly as much as Congress’ proposed Budget Control Act. Think of the jobs it would create, the court time I would save and the jail space it would free up for actual criminals. Sign the petition below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_tUy6fylQs
Gerald Yops November 15, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Patrick....What are you smoking!?!!
No Bad Government November 15, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Does it really matter how he got his disease? The question is where can he get his medicine? I am sure there are MJ dispensaries somewhere in the county outside of La Mesa. Yes, it may be more convenient to obtain it in La Mesa but maybe the MJ lobby should work on allowing regular pharmacies to carry it since it is a drug to take away some of the fraud that goes on with the collectives. Not sure that is the answer but if Lemon Grove votes down two different MJ initiatives, it is not likely to pass in a more conservative La Mesa. I supposed you can always grow you own in small quantities if you don't distribute. to sell or when you go to a collective outside of La Mesa, buy the Costco size prescription to reduce your trips. I am sure there is some flexibility in the prescription size
Honest La Mesan November 15, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Thank you Dave Smylie for those holiday shopping tips!
Eric Yates November 15, 2012 at 05:47 PM
then don't ;)
Kevin George November 15, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Eric, in hindsight I suppose I should have said " I shouldn't criticize". Mea culpa:)
Kevin George November 15, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Patrick, I believe that your direct approach to full legalization is much more honest and productive than the medical marijuana angle. This pussy footing around with this obvious sham system is only postponing what you think should really be done, so do it. The War on Drugs is an abject failure. Forces on both sides of legality are making gobs of money. Without draconian measures and loss of many basic freedoms drugs will always be around. Likewise there will always be people who want drugs.( They'll smoke bath salts for gawds sake) This fact is unfortunate, but undeniable. It's time to make the best of this unfortunate situation with some common sense legislation.
Kevin Berg November 16, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Pot shops are illegal and facilitate fraudulent “medical” use of pot, which is why all 18 cities in San Diego County prohibit them and 90% of the cities in California. Go sit outside a pot shop and watch who their customers are, all young, mostly male, none serious ill. It’s a sham, plain and simple. As one example Colorado’s State Department of Health found (http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hs/medicalcannabis/statistics.html), only 2% of medi-pot users reported cancer, and less than 1% reported HIV/AIDS as their reason for using pot. The vast majority (94%) reported “severe pain.” Not only are medi-pot users not sick, but also sell the pot they buy at pot shops to teenagers. On June 18, 2012 the Journal Watch Psychiatry reported that 74% of teens in two Colorado substance treatment programs admit to using pot that came from pot shops. It’s too easy to get a doctor’s recommendation at 18-years old and then buy unlimited amounts of pot at a pot shop. La Mesa voters are smart, they’ll see through the smoke screen from the pro-pot lobby and vote NO to pot shops.
Things I Learned November 16, 2012 at 02:23 AM
We should ban pot shops so that people who break the law selling regulated pot to teens will have to go back to selling unregulated pot to teens because it is much harder to get access to illegal pot which is why the price is so low.

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