“Yesterday, medical marijuana activists seeking to overturn Santa Ana‘s ban on medical marijuana collectives showed up at city hall with 16,000 signatures of city residents who want the pot clubs back in business. The group, which formed in August 2012 and calls itself the Committee to Support Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative, hopes to let voters decide whether to set up a registration process that would allow no less than 22 cannabis clubs to operate, or roughly one per every 15,000 residents,” according to the OC Weekly.
The Santa Ana City Clerk’s office is apparently going to validate every single signature collected, which is not the norm – usually only ten percent of the signatures are inspected.
Some residents are up in arms over this proposed ballot measure, which won’t show up on any ballots until 2014. One of my readers sent me this list of complaints:
- This proposed ordinance does nothing to designate an “appropriate number” – or any limited number – of pot shops operating in the City.
- The proposed ordinance does nothing to distribute dispensary locations throughout the City in order to prevent their patients from traveling clear across the City to obtain their medicine.
- Their ordinance does not insure that dispensaries must be located in buildings which are ADA compliant.
- The sale of marijuana will not be limited to the residents of Santa Ana.
- The measure does not ensure that patients have adequate local access and that certain neighborhoods are not overburdened with a proliferation of pot shops.
- The petition denies the City the power to regulate the operation of marijuana dispensaries. The MMJ ordinance calls for dispensaries to be operate as a matter of right – they will not be held to any special or conditional use standards beyond the practically non-existent standards within the proposed ordinance.
- The petition does nothing to ensure that marijuana dispensaries will not be located adjacent to residential neighborhoods.
- There is a very special consideration given to dispensaries – “A Certificate of Occupancy shall be issued regardless of parking requirements.” No other business in the City of Santa Ana has that special privilege. How are their “patients” with medical issues supposed to have adequate access without a requirement for Handicapped Parking?
- The City of Santa Ana already has five categories of licensed healthcare facilities authorized and permitted to dispense medicinal marijuana to patients in need.
All that aside, it is painfully obvious that our nation’s drug war isn’t working. And this ballot measure includes “ a two percent tax on prospective sales, which translates to twice the city’s current business tax, money that would go straight into the city’s general fund,” according to the OC Weekly.
But will Santa Ana’s voters, who tend to be older, even think about voting for a pot measure? California voters already approved medical marijuana – but Santa Ana’s voters may not follow suit.
The wild card will be the city’s youth – they generally don’t vote but will they turn out for a chance to vote to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries?
“There are more young people using marijuana than smoking cigarettes,” according to the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, as reported in the Philadelphia Public Record, which also reported that “ In 2010, more than 150,000 young people (12 to 17) went to rehab to recover from marijuana addiction.”
Will this ballot measure, if successful, lead to more pot smoking among our youth? Will they be able to get medical marijuana cards? I am told are readily available in Venice Beach for about $75.
I suspect this is all moot and that marijuana will be legalized within the next decade. It may well have been banned under shady circumstances. “In 1936, the liquor industry funded the infamous movie titled Reefer Madness. This movie depicts a man going insane from smoking marijuana, and then killing his entire family with an ax,” according to an online source.
Prohibition didn’t work out. Perhaps the federal ban on marijuana won’t either. In which case this proposed Santa Ana ballot measure might be a foreshadowing of things to come.