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Imperial Beach Medical Marijuana Initiative Found Sufficient By Registrar Of Voters

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vote for california marijuana initiativesA ballot initiative to repeal the Imperial Beach City’s ban on safe access to medical marijuana and replace it with reasonable regulations for qualified patients received approval from the County Registrar of Voters Wednesday and is headed for the July 18, Imperial Beach City Council meeting.

The Safe Access Ordinance of Imperial Beach is the first ever initiative to regulate safe access to medical cannabis in the City of Imperial Beach sponsored by Canvass for a Cause a LGBT non-profit and San Diego Americans for Safe Access, the local chapter of the nation’s largest medical cannabis patients’ rights advocacy group. If passed, the measure would repeal the city’s current ban and replace it with strict zoning regulations and clear operational requirements for medical cannabis dispensing collectives and cooperatives.

The Imperial Beach City Council began working on the issue of safe access to medical marijuana two years ago when Marcus Boyd, the Vice Chair of San Diego Americans for Safe Access and local business owner in Imperial Beach, brought the issue to them at a council meeting.

At that time, the city denied Mr. Boyd’s request for a business license to open a dispensing collective and adopted a moratorium (temporary ban) instead. The council promised they would conduct research and return a reasonable ordinance in a few months.

Two years passed, and instead of adopting an ordinance that allows safe access the city council knowingly approved an unconstitutional ban.

Weeks leading up to the city councils vote to ban safe access, the Imperial Beach Patch conducted an analysis of crime in and around the areas of existing dispensaries in South San Diego, and found that there was no increase, but rather a decrease in crime. In addition, hundreds of letters signed by Imperial Beach residents were sent to the city council urging them to adopt sensible regulations instead of implementing a ban. Dozens of patients and citizens came out and voiced their opposition directly to the Council members. Still the council voted to ban safe access.

One of the more notable advocates for patient’s rights who voiced opposition to the ban was Congressman Brian Billbray’s daughter, cancer survivor, medical cannabis patient and Imperial Beach resident Brianna Bilbray.

After years of lobbying, writing letters, and attending city council meetings, the community was left with no choice but to take their plea to the people of Imperial Beach.

The initiative process began on March 12th, when it was filed with the city clerk. Two weeks later the signature drive began.

On June 8th, less then 3 months after the start of the signature drive, the Safe Access Imperial Beach campaign submitted over 1,550 valid signatures to the City Clerk for processing.

As of Thursday, June 21, 2012, the city clerk of Imperial Beach officially announced that the registrar of voters found the signatures in the petition to be and the ordinance would be discussed at the July 18th Imperial Beach City Council meeting (6pm). Although an unlikely scenario, the City Council could save the cash strapped city approximately $20,000 by immediately adopting the ordinance as law instead of placing it on the ballot.

The campaign has scheduled a press conference prior to the city council meeting on July 18th at 5:30PM at the Imperial Beach City Hall located at 825 Imperial Beach Blvd.

Media inquiries contact Petition Director Eugene Davidovich at safeaccessib@gmail.com or 619-755-2093

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