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Smart Voter
San Diego County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Proposition J
Marijuana Dispensary Authorization Ordinance
City of La Mesa

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 6450 / 46.40% Yes votes ...... 7452 / 53.60% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Summary | Arguments |

Shall the Ordinance amending the La Mesa Municipal Code to authorize and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in the City of La Mesa be adopted?

Summary Prepared by City Attorney:
The La Mesa Municipal Code (Municipal Code) prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries (dispensaries) in La Mesa. The measure, placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters, would amend the Municipal Code to repeal that prohibition and authorize dispensaries to locate (without size restrictions) in non-residential zones appropriate for commercial, manufacturing, industrial or retail sales uses, including health care uses. The measure would prohibit dispensaries from locating within 1,000 feet of another dispensary and within a 600 foot radius of schools or playgrounds. The measure would require that City officials issue an operating permit and business registration to any dispensary applicant that: (1) demonstrates compliance with location requirements, (2) presents a plan for compliance with operational requirements (see below) and (3) has no directors which have been convicted of a serious felony (defined pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1197.2(c)) in the past 7 years. The measure would prohibit law enforcement officials from arresting, prosecuting, or seizing marijuana from, qualified patients, caregivers and dispensary personnel who comply with the terms of the measure and applicable state law.

The measure would impose the following operational requirements on dispensaries: (1) licensed security personnel on site during operating hours, (2) security cameras and alarms, (3) safety lighting, (4) secured marijuana storage, (5) restricted operating hours (between 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.), (6) prohibits consumption or dispensing of alcoholic beverages on site, (7) prohibits marijuana from being visible from the exterior of any dispensary, (8) products containing marijuana must be identified by label, (9) prohibits providing marijuana to any minor (18 or under) excepting a qualified minor patient accompanied by a parent or guardian, and (10) prohibits on- site evaluations for medical marijuana use.

The measure imposes a two-and-one-half (2.5) percent sales tax on every transaction involving medical marijuana in the City, which would be reduced to one (1) percent if a statewide tax is imposed on such transactions. Any such taxes collected would be deposited in the City's general fund to be used for general governmental purposes.

A legal question exists as to whether the measure's taxation provisions, which propose a unique City tax on medical marijuana exceeding the uniform sales tax rate imposed by California law, would require the Board of Equalization to cease collecting all sales tax in La Mesa.

Additionally, legal questions exist as to whether California and/or federal law authorizes the operation of dispensaries in the manner authorized by the measure including: (1) because marijuana is illegal under federal law, whether the City would be in violation of state and/or federal law by issuing dispensary operating permits as required pursuant to the measure; (2) whether City employees who issue permits as required pursuant to the measure might be prosecuted by the federal government for violating federal criminal law; and (3) whether the measure improperly attempts to amend state criminal law by altering the ability of state law enforcement officials to arrest and prosecute individuals for state law violations.

  Partisan Information

Yes on Measure J
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Arguments For Proposition J Arguments Against Proposition J
In 1996, backed by scientific evidence and compassion, the voters of California chose to allow people suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and other debilitating diseases to use medical marijuana. While local governments have failed to enact ordinances to allow for a safe, well-regulated distribution of the medicine, drug cartels are profiting from patients and bringing dangerous hard drugs to our communities.

Measure J would establish clear rules and regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of La Mesa, pulling the rug out from under the black market drug dealers. It takes a balanced approach to the concerns of our communities by placing a buffer from places where children congregate and has strict requirements for security, hours of operation, and location of dispensaries.

Measure J requires large buffers between dispensaries, to ensure that patients have access while preventing a concentration of dispensaries in any area.

Cost recovery fees are included, to recoup any costs to the city.

Measure J is win-win. We make sure our children don't have access to medical marijuana, we ensure patients have safe reliable access to their medicine, and we stand up to the drug dealers.
Join us by voting yes on Measure J.

Endorsed by: San Diego County Democratic Party
San Diego County Libertarian Party
La Mesa/Foothill Democratic Club
San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access
California & San Diego NORML

Registered Nurse, La Mesa Resident
La Mesa Resident and Cancer Patient
Former Deputy Sherrif
La Mesa Resident and Patient
Former Prosecutor

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Voters beware of false and misleading statements in Measure J:

    • Voters in 1996 never supported retail sales of marijuana in pot shops. Proposition 215 makes no mention of dispensaries or collectives. California's Supreme Court ruled that "no distribution of medical marijuana may occur between individuals other than from a primary caregiver to a medical marijuana patient with whom that caregiver has a preexisting, ongoing and significant relationship." The court defined a primary caregiver as a person who "has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety" of the patient.

    • A 2.5% sales tax on each sale of marijuana is illegal under state law. The city cannot impose a sales tax on just one product.

    • Measure J claims to "establish clear rules" but contains no penalties for violations.

    • Does not allow City Council, planning department or the public to review and give input into the permit process.

    • Prohibits any limits on dispensary size, La Mesa would become a marijuana superstore destination.

    • No limits on amount of marijuana store on-site.

    • "Serious felons" and other convicted criminals allowed to work/volunteer in dispensaries.

    • "...buffers from places where children congregate" means 600ft. (one block) from school classrooms or playgrounds.

    • Measure J calls itself "citizen-sponsored," yet no La Mesa resident publicly endorsed their ballot argument.

    • Nothing in Measure J prevents cartel and black market marijuana sales at dispensaries in La Mesa.

Protect the health and safety of La Mesa! Vote NO on Measure J!

La Mesa City Councilman
School Counselor
Councilman, City of La Mesa

Vote NO on MEASURE J to protect La Mesa from deceitfully conceived attempt to allow the proliferation of large-scale pot shops!

Do not be misled: This pot shop initiative is not about compassionate use of marijuana for seriously ill patients; it is about making a lucrative profit by selling marijuana in our neighborhoods.

Measure J is illegal by state and federal standards. State law already allows for the enclosed network exchange of marijuana between a patient and a caregiver who has "...consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health and safety" of the patient. It does not allow the retail sale of marijuana from a retail store.

Measure J would damage the city's image, making it more difficult to draw healthy, safe and profitable businesses into our city. Voters have already rejected pot shop ballot measures in Lemon Grove, Imperial Beach, Del Mar and Solana Beach. And we have all watched San Diego try unsuccessfully to regulate pot shops and know that it's a lawless business.

Marijuana storefronts will hurt our community. Pot shops are crime magnets; they have an abundant supply of cash and a product easily resold on the street. A study in San Diego found that census tracts with pot shops had twice as many property and violent crimes than census tracts without them.

In addition, research indicates that marijuana is being diverted to our teens. Adolescent drug treatment counselors report teens name marijuana 75% of the time as the reason they are coming to drug treatment programs.

Don't be lured by the promised 2.5% additional sales tax. It will never happen because it violates state law.

Pot shops are unnecessary, are a regulation nightmare and provide easy access to youth. They will degrade the quality of life in La Mesa. Vote NO on Measure J.

Vice President, Board of Directors
Grossmont Healthcare District
Community Pastor, Crosspointe Life Church
Mayor, City of La Mesa
Vice Mayor, City of La Mesa

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
California Courts have repeatedly upheld the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries. In People v. Baniani, the California Court of Appeals held that California law "inherently recognized the lawfulness of the disbursement of medical marijuana from storefront or mobile retail outlets." For this reason, numerous municipalities around the state, including San Diego City and Los Angeles, regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

However, there are no local regulations regarding dispensaries in La Mesa - limiting access for patients, and limiting the City's ability to provide oversight, and collect revenue from dispensaries. We believe it is smarter to provide strict zoning and public safety regulations, to ensure that dispensaries are a benefit, not a blight, to our community.

By regulating the distribution of medical marijuana, we have the ability to reduce youth access, as there will be less opportunity for black market suppliers in our city. In San Diego City, where medical marijuana dispensaries have displaced the black market, over the last five years, marijuana use among high school students has dropped and the crime rate has substantially decreased.

The quality of life of a community is enhanced when its ailing citizens have access to medicine. The quality of life is enhanced when discreet, well-regulated, establishments bring jobs and tax revenue to our city. Our quality of life is enhanced when we vote for Measure J.

Vote Yes on Measure J to enhance the reputation of La Mesa, as a pragmatic, compassionate, community that believes in regulation and oversight.

Former Deputy Sheriff
Former Prosecutor
Law Professor and
former head of the San Diego Medical Marijuana
Task Force
Chair, San Diego
Americans for Safe Access
Registered Nurse and La Mesa resident

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