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Medical Marijuana Supporters Hope to Legalize Drug in Encinitas

A possible ballot measure may soon give you the chance to decide.

Encinitas residents could soon be voting on whether or not the city should allow medical marijuana dispensaries.

Citizens for Patient Rights—a group that works to provide safe access to medical marijuana—has beenin hopes of getting the measure on the ballot this November. The group has finally gathered enough signatures to make that happen, according to a spokesperson.

“Right now we’re completing our internal verification of all the signatures before we turn them in to the city clerk,” said James Schmachtenberger, president of the Patient Care Association of California, a medical cannabis trade association that’s supporting the effort.  

The group plans to give the list of signatures in to the city clerk within the next week. After that, the Registrar of Voters will verify all the signatures. In order to get the measure on the ballot, the group is required to turn in 3,742 signatures—which comes out to 10 percent of the Encinitas voting population—though Schmachtenberger said the group plans to significantly surpass that requirement.

Once the signatures are verified, the item will come before Encinitas City Council. At that time, Council can decide to: adopt the measure as a city ordinance without any public vote; agree to put the measure on the ballot; or request that city staff do a impact studying to find out how medical marijuana dispensaries would affect the community.

In order to get the measure on the ballot in November, Citizens for Patients Rights must file all its paperwork by Aug. 10. If Council decides to order an impact study, city staff legally has 30 days to complete that work—but that could mean the group would miss its deadline for getting the measure on to the ballot. In an effort to avoid that scenario, Schmachtenberger said he has provided Council with the ample data and information. 

“Residents who singed this petition did it with the intent of having the opportunity to vote. The hope is that Council is cooperative to the spirit of that petition. We hope Council expedites the process and gives voters a fair chance to decide what they want,” Schmachtenberger said.

If the ballot measure passes in the election, Encinitas would be allowed to collect a 2.5 percent supplemental sales tax from all medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. Based on sales in other cities, that’ll likely boost the city’s coffers by at least $230,000 per year, Schmachtenberger said.

According to the proposed ordinance (PDF file attached), medical marijuana dispensaries would only be allowed in retail and industrial zones, with a 600-foot buffer from schools and playgrounds—plus a 1,000-foot buffer between dispensaries. There would also be limitations on signage, no onsite smoking would be allowed, and each dispensary would be required to have a community liaison to city government.

Citizens for Patients Rights is also working to bring the measure before voters in , Del Mar and Solana Beach—and each of those community’s city councils are expected to address the topic within the next few weeks.

These targeted cities were selected because all of them had among the highest voter turnout for Prop. 19, a 2010 ballot measure that would have legalized marijuana for all adults, not just medical patients. Of the five cities, Schmachtenberger said Encinitas voters have had the most enthused response.

“Our volunteers have gotten a very warm response on Encinitas streets, and often people will joke and ask if they can sign the petition twice,” he said.

Schmachtenberger invites some of those supporters to join him at the July 18 Encinitas City Council meeting, when he plans to speak during public comment period.

Encinitas Patch is following this story and will keep you posted with updates.

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Diane July 13, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Why is it that people do not understand that Federal Government prohibits the use, cultivation, and transportation of marijuana? It is identified by both the DEA and Congress as a Schedule 1 drug which means it has a high potential for abuse. We must remember that Marijuana is the number 1 reason people enter treatment programs and by introducing dispensaries into our communities we are only providing the message to our youth that smoking marijuana is harmless!
BW July 13, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Because Diane, it has nothing to do with the feds. It should be a state issue for one thing. And for another, it's really no different than people who choose to drink alcohol. Some people have problems with marijuana, some with alcohol. The choice should be theirs and if they affect others by their actions, that's where the consequences should lie. And of course lastly, we all know that underage drinkers will find alcohol when they want it. Same thing applies for marijuana except that because it's illegal it costs more and may be more harmful because there's no option but to buy whatever is offered.
Mike July 13, 2012 at 04:58 PM
While medical marijuana use has not been conclusively proven, yet, to be as much of a burden on the society as tobacco it should be taxed heavier. BTW cigarettes were not proven to be bad until 50 years after they were able to be sold. Smoked marijuana has already been conclusively linked to a lower quality of health with respect to respiratory illness and sick days taken. A MS, AIDS or cancer patient, who can benefit from this product, should be able to get it at Rite Aid with a prescription from their illness doctor. I fully support their access to it. They are going to the pharmacy anyway and deserve all the help they can get. If people want a dispensary in Encinitas I have no problem with that. I have serious problem with only a 2.5% sales tax increase. The current tax on cigarettes is 85 cents/pack. Alcohol is also heavily taxed. Let’s not insult non-users intelligence and call these dispensaries for medical use. If you want to damage yourself that is fine. But if you are going to be a burden you should have to pay your share for it.
Denise Martin July 13, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I agree with Diane. The last thing kids need nowadays is a drug dispensary every 1000 feet (at worst). For goodness sake. I have never used any illegal drugs, let alone marijuana, so I can't speak about its' effectiveness in complicated medical cases, but if this is a necessary and helpful medical therapy that a choice group of people can benefit from, then why not sell it through the pharmacies? I don't see a need for there to be multiple dispensaries everywhere. What message are we giving our youth by allowing this? This is crazy!
Kevin_Hunt July 13, 2012 at 05:31 PM
So, Diane, why was DEA spokeswoman Michele Leonhart not able to justify why marijuana is in schedule I? ( http://coloradoindependent.com/122969/video-polis-mixes-it-up-with-the-dea-over-marijuana ) Do you really believe that marijuana is more dangerous than schedule II amphetamines or cocaine? Only an idiot would believe that. Marijuana not caused one overdose death in 5,000 years of use. Aspirin kills hundreds of Americans each year. Marijuana is the #1 reason that people are entering treatment because they are busted for possession and are given the choice between "treatment" and jail. Get your facts straight and stop spreading lies.
Kevin_Hunt July 13, 2012 at 05:32 PM
The health care cost per marijuana user in Canada was $20.50. Source: Rehm, J. Baliunas, S., Brochu, B. et al. [2006]. The costs of substance abuse in Canada 2002. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.
Kevin_Hunt July 13, 2012 at 05:33 PM
..because pharmacies would lose their DEA licenses if they sold marijuana.
Mike July 13, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Kevin, Yes and alcohol was 165 and tobacco was 800/user…. I am not disputing that marijuana is safer than these other substances. I am also not naive enough to call it medical in this distribution format. Realize you are supporting a self-chosen vice with statistics that say how little of a burden this is compared to, other socially accepted, worse vices. Your misuse of the fact that Aspirin kills hundreds of people each year and no mention of the proven benefits of Aspirin is disingenuous. You are taking the worst attribute of a beneficial therapeutic only to support how “not that bad” medical marijuana is comparatively. We all have vices and do things for our enjoyment that are our own choices. We should have the freedom to do this and that is part of what makes where we live so awesome. But thinking it should not be taxed heavily and called “medical” is flawed in my humble opinion. I don’t expect the same for my vices.
Mike Parent July 13, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Does it matter to you that the DEA wrongfully and intentionally classified marijuana as a Schedule I substance? GIGO. The law is a farce because it was conceived, born and was nurtured from lie, greed, racism, and hate (Nixon) As for "THE CHILDREN" If they really cared for the children they'd legalize and regulate marijuana. If they really wanted to keep any substance out of the hands of "The Children" they first must take control of distribution away from black market dealers. They haven't accomplished that in 40+ years at a taxpayers cost in the hundreds of billions. It's time to treat marijuana as we do alcohol. My 27 year old daughter still gets carded when she buys alcohol, yet your 13 year old can buy anything the black market dealer has for a price whether it be money or "something else". FACT: Your kids have a better chance dying at the hands of someone enforcing marijuana laws than they do from ingesting it.(ZERO %). LEAP member, NYPD, ret. http://www.pitt.edu/~ugr/Hrych2.pdf Scientific Proof Marijuna is not a Gateway drug! http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57456999-10391704/medical-marijuana-legalization- wont-boost-teen-pot-use-study-finds/
Mike Parent July 13, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Denise, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57456999-10391704/medical-marijuana-legalization-wont-boost-teen-pot-use-study-finds/ "The Children" is a Red Herring! As an aside, 20% of ALL KIA in Iraq are under 21, as were 26000 Viet Nam KIA's! What about the children, indeed.
Kevin_Hunt July 13, 2012 at 07:09 PM
"But thinking it should not be taxed heavily and called “medical” is flawed in my humble opinion. I don’t expect the same for my vices." Sounds reasonable, Mike. How about a 5% federal excise tax on medical marijuana in exchange for an ending the raids?
Mike July 13, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Kevin, Five percent sounds reasonable and I will let more knowledgeable people than I discuss the appropriate amount. The state and federal governments need to work out a cohesive policy. The two conflicting positions are untenable long term.
Robert Paulson July 13, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol,alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol,alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol,alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol,alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol KILLS
sheila July 15, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Alcohol is the "gateway" drug for children... it's been proven. On a personal "medical" level... it has made it possible for a loved one to get off of large doses of narcotics since 1989 such as oxicontin, morphine, and other dangerous and strong medications perscribed by pain management physicians. These narcotics destroy the body organs, teeth, etc. It has truely been a miracle in improving his quality of life. Personally, I don't think a doctor's recommendation is enough... a State issued card should be enforced. This will discourage alot of the "patients" who suffer from illusionary ailments from gaining access. FYI... I'm not a "hippie" and believe in State Rights and will polically endorce any candidate that will enforce our rights... not say they will... and then send the US District Attorney into our back yards. Even though Delivery options are available in Encinitas... A Responsible and Compassionate Dispensary is much needed in our community. I really hope the conservatives will take anothe look at this issue and understand it's great value.
sheila July 15, 2012 at 06:59 PM
*Attorney General
Diego July 15, 2012 at 10:40 PM
The pro-pot lobby has rolled into Encinitas with their paid signature gathers looking to set up pot shops which are against the law. What a joke. I laugh when they claim their customers are serious ill patients, when their website’s show scantly clad women smoking joints and young kids partying together. Go sit outside a pot shop and watch who their customers are, all young, mostly male, none serious ill. It’s a shame, plain and simple. It’s become quite clear “medical” marijuana is a Trojan horse for legal marijuana use. The DEA has become wise to this and are cracking down on pot shops for their unlawful operations and fraudulent “medical” assistance. Why on earth would Encinitas want to permit pot shops operations, when they directly violate the Control Substance Act and provide easy access to any 18-year old kid who got his doctor’s recommendation online skyping with a ‘doctor’ ? Waste of time and money.
Kevin_Hunt July 16, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Quoting Diego: "It’s become quite clear “medical” marijuana is a Trojan horse for legal marijuana use." You are just now figuring that out? You are a little slow. Next thing will be legalization of non-drug industrial hemp. Did you know that marijuana was not outlawed because it was dangerous, but to punish Mexicans for being Mexican, Senor Diego? And you support the racist drug war? I agree that marijuana prohibition has been a "Waste of time and money". Why are alcohol drinkers not required to Skype their doctor before going into a liquor store? Why on earth would Encinitas want to permit liquor stores?

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