Wednesday, April 13, 2011

*Five Medical Marijuana Activists Arrested Today at San Diego City Council Protest

Americans for Safe Access
For Immediate Release:*April 12, 2011

*/Patients, supporters resist passage of flawed ordinance & forced
closure of all city collectives/

in the San Diego City Council chambers protesting the final vote on a
local distribution ordinance, which advocates say imposes a citywide de
facto ban on collectives. During the hearing, members of the "Stop the
Ban Campaign" -- a coalition of over 20 local, state, and national
groups spearheaded by Canvass for a Cause and the San Diego Chapter of
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) -- repeatedly chanted "We demand safe
access," disrupting the session, forcing council to clear the chambers,
and postponing a critical vote on the ordinance.

The Stop the Ban Campaign has demanded that the City Council amend its
ordinance to include a compliance period that will avoid the immediate
closure of more than 100 facilities currently serving thousands of area
patients, and to open up available space in the city so that collectives
can actually relocate. Unfortunately, despite years of study, thoughtful
recommendations from a city-appointed task force, countless letters
received from constituents, hundreds of supporters at the last public
hearing, the City Council has so far refused to acknowledge the
recommendations of experts and the will of the people.

"The patient community in San Diego will not be deterred despite the
efforts of the City Council," said ASA San Diego Chair Eugene
Davidovich, one of the protest organizers and people arrested today.
"One way or another San Diego patients will gain safe access to their
medication, but it would be much more effective for the city to work
with us instead of fighting us at every step of the way."

Prior to the bill's first reading on March 28th, the Stop the Ban
campaign organized the largest letter-writing campaign in the city's
history, during which San Diego residents wrote in opposition to the
ordinance, requesting the passage of specific amendments. The ordinance
was also opposed by the Chair and Vice-Chair of the City's Medical
Marijuana Task Force. Left with little option, activists chose
nonviolent civil disobedience to protest the council's decision to
ignore years of citizen and expert input into the development of

Advocates are now targeting San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, urging him to
reject the bill and tell the City Council to come back with a version
that reflects the community's input. While litigation is likely to
result from the passage of the ordinance in its current form, there is
another move afoot. The San Diego chapter of ASA in collaboration with
the Stop the Ban Campaign submitted a ballot proposal to the city clerk
on Monday in an attempt to put the issue before the voters. A
little-used process involving the city's Rules Committee, could prompt a
public hearing on the proposed measure and if approved by the committee
would be sent to the council for placement on the next election's ballot.

*Further information:*
San Diego medical marijuana ordinance:
Manifesto from arrested activists:
San Diego ASA chapter website:

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