The city of San Diego may soon have to defend its new medicinal marijuana ordinances in court. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith received a letter on Thursday, April 28, from Chief Counsel Joe Elford who on behalf of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is prepared to sue the city if it does not amend the ordinances approved by its council on April 12.
Elford stated in his letter that the ordinances violate the due process rights of medical marijuana collectives by forcing them to shut down in 30 days, leaving virtually no options for relocation. The city council of Imperial Beach will cast its first vote on a similar ban on medicinal marijuana collectives on June 1.
“We can not afford to take action against every city in the state,” Elford said. “But ASA will be closely watching the Imperial Beach decision and decide on what actions, if any, to take once the council moves forward with a law.”
Concerning the city of San Diego, ASA intends to move forward. “At this point we are just warning them, but if they do not make the amendments we are requesting, we’ll be speaking with a number of collectives and file a lawsuit before it becomes law in order to prevent [the city] from shutting down a large number of medicinal marijuana facilities.”
The requests from ASA are that the medicinal marijuana collectives be allowed to operate in most commercial zones and that they be given one year to obtain a conditional use permit. These requests, along with several others, were presented to the city council twice during its public meetings, and via one of the largest letter writing campaigns.
Many of the city-commissioned medical marijuana task force members also pleaded for similar changes, but the council appears made no significant amendments. Elford stated that arguably the ordinances are supposed to go into effect within 10 days of passing through the Mayor’s office, which was on Thursday, April 21. However, on Monday, April 25, Mayor Jerry Sander’s office released a statement that it would not sign the ordinances, but since it also chose not to veto them, the council will be able to move forward with implementing them.