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Marijuana in San Diego: To Legalize or Not to Legalize?

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With California’s budget in a state of nonexistence and unemployment looking dismal as ever, many of the state’s policymakers have been looking in a direction that seems more possible than ever before: the legalization of marijuana. California’s Proposition 19, an initiative which will be on the November ballot, would decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for those of age 21 and older, and make it possible for the state to tax revenues gained from the sale of the drug.

But a recent Field Poll shows that the majority of California voters oppose the Proposition, with 48% of the 1,005 likely voters polled saying they would vote no, and 44% saying they would vote yes. Only the San Francisco Bay Area, which has shown strong support for the legalization of cannabis in the past, came back with numbers that demonstrated an overwhelming desire for Prop. 19 to pass, voting 53% yes and 38% no. In San Diego County, it seems most residents do not approve of the ballot measure, with 39% voting yes and 54% voting no.

With recent events in San Diego County, the numbers do not come as a surprise. A new ordinance passed on June 30th, 2010 by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors restricts the locations where medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed and makes the cost of owning and running a dispensary more expensive. The new ordinance states that dispensaries are limited to industrial zones and require an armed license, video monitoring and license fees of up to $20,000. Furthermore, they are required to be a minimum of 1,000 feet away from homes, churches, schools, and parks.

While the Board contends that there are at least 15 locations in San Diego that meet these staunch requirements, opponents argue that nearly all of those sites are uninhabitable, consisting of undeveloped land, areas that are zoned for treatment of radioactive materials, etc.

In addition to the new regulations that have been passed, Federal anti-drug agents of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) have raided at least four marijuana dispensaries in the County over the course of the past few weeks, and at least 12 individuals accused of selling pot illegally in the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles have been arrested.

Despite these dim prospects, however, Proposition 19 proponents are holding out hope, citing that the numbers in the Field Poll do not account for many voters’ opinions, including young voters who have shown overwhelming support for legalization. But only November will tell if  marijuana lovers will be able to light up and smoke a j with the State’s nod of approval.

Photos from Neeta Lind and Foxtongue via flickr

9 Comments

  1. Pastor Jim

    July 12, 2010 at 11:02 am

    We can not afford to question the reasoning of American’s founding fathers. The annals of history provide the resulting evidence of this paradigm for those wise enough to see it. For that reason I firmly stand with Abraham Lincoln “A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”

  2. Mr. Speaker

    July 12, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Well said, Pastor. The men we quote so fondly and so often are widely accepted as being some of the most intelligent and well-meaning men of our government’s history.

  3. Conservative Christian

    July 12, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Three questions about the California ballot choice on marijuana:
    1) Would I want my child to go to prison if he or she tried a little marijuana?
    2) Am I ready for the “October Surprise” from the Drug War side?
    3) How do I register to vote? (Those registering by May 24 2010 can vote in the Primary Elections on June 8. Those registering by October 18 can vote in the November 2 General Election.)

    Citizens of California can go online and register to vote by completing an online form and mailing it to the address on the form. The form is available at

    h t t p s : / / w w w .sos.ca.gov/nvrc/fedform/

  4. Conservative Christian

    July 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    All of the prohibitionists’ arguments boil down to a single point: If my child gets a little off track and starts using marijuana, the prohibitionists want to put them in PRISON. Prison is not good for my kids or for yours, and it’s much worse than the effects of marijuana, so we can pretty well disregard all of the prohibitionist nonsense about keeping it illegal “to protect the children.” I hope my kids steer clear of marijuana, but I REALLY hope that if they do use a little marijuana, they don’t end up in prison.

  5. AlansK

    July 12, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I don’t know why it’s even a question. The reason used to prohibit marijuana in the first place have been debunked. Let’s restore a bit of sanity and freedom by legalizing the possession of this plant.

  6. Klatu Berata Nicto

    July 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Seriously. Wow. This is amazing, the amount of common sense in this room is astounding. Especially considering the topic, you’d assume the comments would be about Cheetos and the scrappy doo vs scooby doo, but no. You are all class acts. Kudos. It is flagrant stupidity, to allow this plant to continue to be illegal. If these comments are any indicator, it’s obvious that the intelligent, upstanding people of our community are more than able to be responsible users of marijuana. As long as it falls under the same type of standards that alcohol does, I’d welcome it. (must be over 21, no driving while under influence, not near schools, etc). As former law enforcement, I’d tend to agree it would reduce crime in our neighborhoods, as there are A LOT of pot-related arrests, and our men and women in uniform could better serve their communities by chasing and locking up REAL criminals.

  7. bud101

    July 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    marijuana has proven itself already. everyone *is* using it that really wants it. duhhhh. the only surprise when it goes legal is from all the amateurs. just like new years day, amateur night! but the bottom line is many feel it’s part of their life already and quite frankly, this plant is a one of god’s blessings. not a curse. many drunks don’t want it on the market because it will cut into their liquor profits and pharmaceuticals???? that market will whine too. but screw them. evolution is a bitch! pot has a better market of sane people over drunks on 4 wheels. get the drunks high instead of drunk… and they’ll probably make better decisions.

  8. Ryan420

    July 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    It’s the conservative christian movement in america, much like the Shia movement in Iran which is destroying at the fabric of the cannabis movement, i’m all for god and government but not when they are together. prisons are ran by corporations, doesn’t this worry anybody? the implications of the federal prison system are fascist-like and must be stopped, for they may imprison our bodies but never our souls.

  9. Lynn

    July 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Why is there no more debate on this topic and prop 19 in the Christian town square? I am a Christian that hopes prop 19 will pass and legalize mj. I am tired of the “sheeple” asleep inside and outside of the churches!! Wake-up American Christians and Pastors!! Your silence is deafening, boring and a real turn-off!! Hey, Frank Pastoree on KKLA, where is the debate?

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