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Medical marijuana dispensaries and revitalization efforts fail

COAST CITIES — Initiatives to revitalize downtown Del Mar and allow medical marijuana dispensaries in that city and Solana Beach failed in the Nov. 6 election. 

Proposition J, which would have adopted a specific plan for the commercial village area, was rejected by Del Mar voters 1,139 to 816, or 58 percent to 42 percent.

The plan reduced Camino del Mar, the main thoroughfare, from four lanes to two, added roundabouts and increased building heights on the west side. Proponents claimed the changes would decrease traffic and pollution and incentivized property owners to upgrade their buildings.

Opponents said the proposal would increase traffic and pollution, decrease property values, force motorists onto residential side streets and destroy the village charm and quality of life.

City officials have been discussing ways to revitalize the area for decades. The most recent effort began more than a year ago and included about 100 meetings, workshops and public hearings.

“We’re sorry it wasn’t approved but that’s what it’s all about,” outgoing Mayor Carl Hilliard said. “We put it out there and let the citizens decide.

“The package was so big and complex,” he said. “People found parts they liked and parts they didn’t. They voted no based on what they didn’t like.”

He said he and his colleagues “made the critical decision” to present the plan as a whole rather than piecemeal.

Hilliard, who did not run for re-election, said the new City Council will be faced with several issues. “Camino del Mar is a failed street,” he said. “They’ll need some plan to deal with traffic and congestion. There’s also the housing element.”

On a more positive note, Hilliard said he was “happy to see the pot initiative rejected.”

“It was poorly written,” he added.

Council members in Del Mar and Solana Beach were presented with an initiative this summer from the Patient Care Association of California, a nonprofit organization of medical cannabis collectives, that would have allowed regulated medical marijuana dispensaries in those cities.

The group collected enough signatures to qualify the measure for the ballots, giving city officials basically two options — adopt it as presented or let voters decide.

Some council members in Solana Beach, including all of those recently elected, said they favor the use of medical marijuana but oppose brick-and-mortar dispensaries.

In Del Mar, Proposition H was rejected 1,053 to 814, or by 56 percent of voters. In Solana Beach 3,193 voters, or 63 percent, opposed Proposition W while 1,882 people, or 37 percent, supported it.

Similar initiatives in Lemon Grove and Imperial Beach also failed.

“The results are surprising and very disappointing,” Cynara Velazquez, of Citizens for Patients Rights, said. “When we were talking to voters we saw just the opposite results.”

She said people may say they support the dispensaries because they don’t want to seem unsympathetic to cancer patients but their opinions change in the voting booth.”

Velazquez noted a competing, stricter ordinance developed by the Lemon Grove council also failed by essentially the same margin.

She said her group has no plans going forward. “We’re absorbing,” she said.



Keith November 8, 2012 at 10:05 am

Voters understand fraud and a scam when we see one. We are compassionate, not stupid. When you see perfectly healthy young 18 years-old with pot recommendations buying and selling pot in a pot shop, it become clear what medi-pot and pot shops are about.

We also don’t appreciate out-of-towners being paid to gather signatures, walk door to door, and spreading misinformation. When we asked these people where they were from, it was Chula Vista, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach etc. The got contributions from all over except from residents of Del Mar and Solana Beach according to their campaign disclosure forms.

Royal November 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Thank you to all those voting against pot shops. I found today’s New York Times Op-Ed about pot shops and medi-pot interesting:

The New York Times, page A23
November 8, 2012

TUESDAY’S election was a victory for the marijuana lobby: Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize recreational use, while Massachusetts will now allow doctors to recommend it as medicine.

It’s a movement around which many Democrats have coalesced. In Colorado, legalization was part of the state party’s platform. And last year, in Montana, Republicans voted to overturn the state’s medical marijuana law, but the Democratic governor saved it with a veto.

But Democrats should think twice about becoming the party of pot. I’m a lifelong partisan Democrat, but I’ve also spent 25 years as a doctor treating drug abusers, and I know their games. They’re excellent con artists.

Take, for example, medical marijuana laws. They were sold to more than a dozen states with promises that they’re only for serious illnesses like cancer.

But that’s not how they work in practice. Almost all marijuana cardholders claim they need it for various kinds of pain, but pain is easy to fake and almost impossible to disprove. In Oregon and Colorado, 94 percent of cardholders get their pot for pain. In Arizona, it’s 90 percent. Serious illnesses barely register.

It’s possible that they all really do need pot to help them. But consider this: pain patients are mostly female, whereas a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that adult cannabis abusers were 74 percent male.

So which one do marijuana patients resemble? Though only two states release data on gender, a vast majority of medical-marijuana cardholders are male. In Arizona, it’s 73 percent, and in Colorado, it’s 68 percent. The best explanation for such skewed numbers is that most medical marijuana recipients are drug abusers who are either faking or exaggerating their problems.

No one should support this subterfuge, but especially not Democrats. It turns us into hypocrites. We fumed when President George W. Bush proposed gutting the Clean Air Act and called it the Clear Skies Initiative. That’s no more dishonest than calling pot “medical” when it almost all goes to recreational use.

Indeed, marijuana activists use phony science, just as global warming deniers do. For years they claimed pot was good for glaucoma and never apologized when research found it could actually make glaucoma worse. They still insist weed isn’t addictive, despite every addiction medicine society saying it is.

They’ve even produced their own flawed scientific studies supposedly proving that medical marijuana laws don’t increase use among teenagers, when almost all the evidence says just the opposite. How can Democrats criticize Republicans for disregarding science and making up facts when people on our side do the same?

Democrats know we need government regulation to protect the public from unhealthy products. But the marijuana lobby wants us to distrust two centerpieces of the regulatory state, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The whole purpose of medical marijuana laws is to evade the regulatory power of these agencies. We’re the political party that got the F.D.A. to regulate tobacco. How can we now say it shouldn’t regulate pot?

Legalization also runs counter to the Democrats’ commitment to education. States with medical marijuana laws have always had much higher rates of teenage marijuana use, but now the effect is nationwide. Since 2008, teenage use has increased 40 percent, and heavy use (at least 20 times a month) is up 80 percent.

Blame the drive to legalize pot. It sends the message that weed is harmless, even though research shows that teenagers who use it regularly do worse in school, are twice as likely to drop out and earn less as adults. Teenage use has been shown to permanently lower I.Q.

No other drug, not even alcohol, affects academic performance like marijuana. How can we make education a focus, and then support laws that will blunt the next generation’s ability to compete?

Legalization would also undermine a successful Democratic program: drug courts, which were written into the 1994 crime bill by Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. They use coercion, the threat of jail, to keep addicts in treatment.

But the marijuana lobby opposes coercion. That’s not surprising. Drug users just want to be left alone to get high. If we side with them, we’re undercutting the Democratic answer to substance abuse.

In effect, America now has two tea parties: on the left they smoke their tea; on the right they throw it in Boston Harbor. Both distrust government, disregard science and make selfish demands that would undermine the public good. But while Republicans have completely caved in to their Tea Party, several Democrats, including the president, are standing up to ours.

Ed Gogek is an addiction psychiatrist and board member of Keep AZ Drug Free, which opposes medical marijuana laws.

Dee November 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I agree with Keith. The out-of-town pot shop owners raised and spent $130,000 unsuccessfully to convince us that their pot shops were needed. Well, they aren’t needed and they are illegal. None of the campaign contributions came from Del Mar of Solana Beach residents. I never found one campaign worker to be from Del Mar of Solana Beach. Voters don’t want outsiders telling them what their city should condone or allow, and certainly not when it’s illegal pot sales.

1) Pot shops violate state marijuana laws.

2) Pot shops violate the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).

3) Pot shops would put the City’s employees and real property that facilitate the issuance of marijuana dispensary permits in a position to be prosecuted by federal officials.

4) Pot shops put private property owners who lease to marijuana dispensaries in a position to be prosecuted by federal officials.

5) Pot shops increase crime.

6) Pot shop facilitates fraudulent “medical” use of pot by healthy young people.

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