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Opinion: Vote No on Props. T and Q

"Paid signature gatherers have no vested interest in this city. They just needed to collect signatures to get paid by the organization behind Proposition T."

With just days to go before the election, I feel compelled to issue a plea to the citizens of Lemon Grove:

Vote no on Propositions T and Q, the measures to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in our city.

I’m all for compassionate use and absolutely am not arguing that medicinal marijuana doesn’t have its benefits. What I am arguing is that the dispensary scam is just that—a storefront to allow the sale of marijuana to anyone who happens to get their hands on a “recommendation” card, which is not a prescription. 

Want to know how easy it is to get a card? Go to the back of the Reader and you will find pages of doctors willing to give one up for the cost of an office call. And once you have the card, there’s no limit as to how many places you can go to get your “recommendation.”

Dispensaries are cash businesses, and there’s no monitoring of how much marijuana these “medicinal users” are actually obtaining—or whether the excess is being sold on the black market to our kids. Do you think locating a dispensary 1,000 feet away from our schools is far enough? How about from our parks? How many of the city’s smoke shops will add to their already robust line of drug paraphernalia?   

Ask yourself how the paid signature gatherers managed to get 1,600 people to say yes to putting Proposition T on the ballot. I heard one of the candidates running for City Council say people were told the taxes collected from the dispensaries would go to repair streets.

Really? 

How do we even know sales would be recorded correctly in order for the city to collect its due? 

Paid signature gatherers have no vested interest in this city. They just needed to collect signatures to get paid by the organization behind Proposition T. This outside source, Citizens for Patient Rights, has collected $132,807 in donations this year. $122,700 of that has come from Patient Care Association of California, a non-profit association of San Diego medical cannabis collectives and cooperatives.

Not one donation is listed from a resident of Lemon Grove—zero, nil, nada.

But they’ve spent:

  •  $23,088 to pay signature gatherers—not one listed has a Lemon Grove address—and two organizations, the La Jolla Group and Community Engagement Resources.
  • $24,749 to pay Will Copy & Print in San Diego to produce yard signs and a mail post card. They couldn’t even use a Lemon Gove company and put some of that money into the local economy!
  • $865 to pay Post Haste Mailing Services in Poway to mail the post card

So far, they have spent $50,000+ to put on a campaign in Lemon Grove. Keep in mind that the “they” in this scenario is an “association of San Diego medical cannabis collectives and cooperatives.” Hmm. Sounds like the very folks who stand to profit from selling lots of marijuana in Lemon Grove.  

And what about the cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Encinitas—how much was spent promoting the same campaign in those cities, by the same group?

Why did the City Council put an alternative measure on the ballot?

The City Council, out of a sense of compassion for the terminally ill, said in council meetings that they wanted to demonstrate respect to those who signed the petition by offering the alternative measure—Proposition Q—which would allow some dispensaries, but not as many as Proposition T, with greater resident input and regulation.

Naively, they believed that lots of folks in Lemon Grove were behind this measure. Now we know better.

I attended the candidate forum Monday night and was grateful that Mark Gracyk and Mike Richards both stated they would not support either proposition. Hooray for them! More people need to stand up and say no.

We are a city of compassionate people who step up and do the right thing when the time comes. I’m now asking that you step up and do the right thing for this city.

VOTE NO ON PROPOSITIONS T and Q.

—Dexter is a school board trustee and one of three authors on the ballot arguments against both propositions.

John Christensen November 02, 2012 at 05:41 PM
If you are for compassionate use then where do you expect patients to get there meds? From the mexican drug cartels? Do the Cartels pay taxes? In California cannabis can be recommended for any condition it helps READ THE LAW. If you dont like the law change it or move, but stop trying to subvert the law that was approved by voters. Aren't there bigger things to worry about for you anyway? Since when is the economy so robust that we can turn away jobs and tax paying legal businesses?
Dawn Garcia November 02, 2012 at 06:06 PM
The ONLY substantial difference between Proposition T and proposition Q is a $200 per patient per year fee , that exists in prop Q (proposed by the City Council) and NOT in Prop T. The zoning and regulations are otherwise, in practice, identical. Somehow, I doubt the motivation for Prop Q was "Patient Compassion".
J Jones November 02, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Well said Katie but don't mistake a duty to listen and a responsibility to protect for naiveté. The signatures gathered and State Law were a mandate that night on the dais. The State has let us down in so many ways here. The regulation/dispensing of “medicine” should be handled at the state level. When Jerry Jones citizen steps in the both on Tuesday the only mandate he has there is to his conscience and community. I, Jerry Jones citizen, do not believe that a marijuana collective has a place in our little community and will be voting no on Q and T. This is not about compassion this is about money. No campaign in Lemon Grove has ever come close to what this outside influence is spending. I hope on Wednesday they don’t find that our community was for sale.
Helen Ofield November 02, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Excellent commentary, Mrs. Dexter! This issue has been on multiple ballots for at least two decades. Mainstream voters don't like this crime-infested issue. Given the constant advances of modern medicine, and science, in general, it is anachronistic that we must resort to burning a hallucinogenic plant for pain relief in the 21st century. Good for candidates Mark Gracyk and Mike Richards for taking a stand in favor of community safety.
Dawn Garcia November 02, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I am sorry to see that J Jones the citizens lacks the practicality and wisdom preached by Jerry Jones the councilmember. First off, of course the state should handle this, but in the meantime, while waiting for cowardly lawmakers to twiddle their thumbs - should patients suffer and the black market prosper? To the charges of "outside" influences. Advocates from around San Diego County chose to support Lemon Grove campaign, BECAUSE of proven the support of the compassionate lemon grove citizens for medical marijuana access, as shown by their voting records for Prop 19 and Prop 215. The ballot measure proponent was a Lemon Grove patient. The ballot argument signers were lemon grove patients. Over 1,600 supporters from lemon grove signed the petition. So, lets not pretend that a large portion of the lemon grove community has not supported this initiative. Does signature gathering cost money? Yes, it takes resources for printing, filing and yes, meager compensation to the advocate willing to spend eight hours a day walking the neighborhoods, speaking to the voters. But regardless of the expense, a signature effort will fail without the will of the people, and the will of the people was clearly present in lemon grove. Prop T or Q can have a positive impact on the community. They force collectives to be discreet, highly regulated, establishments, while providing access for patients and providing needed funds to the City.
J Jones November 02, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Citizen Jones passes no moral judgment on those with a legitimate need. The issue, like any business or land use wanting to come into our community, is a matter of compatibility. It's a matter of the community’s ability to have a continuing say in it’s future. Doesn't matter if it's a card room (anyone remember that?), gas station, apartment or otherwise. Prop Q offered all of that as a compromise and a legal financing mechanism to finance potential impacts. Your group and it's outside money chose a method that guarantees benefit for your cause and pocketbook only and no consideration for our greater community. You chose a model with an illegal tax that will never be collected and completely shuts out community input and oversight. A bit disingenuous to say the least. Your group showed it’s true colors and not an element I personally want in my community. T isn’t about compassion it’s about money. In the end, no matter the justification, we all know the Feds will decide the fate of dispensaries, wherever they go. “In the mean time” there will be impacts. We don’t know what those might be but we can be pretty sure there will be legal fees and more. “In the mean time” that money that will come out of an already strained budget.
Dawn Garcia November 02, 2012 at 11:38 PM
I have yet to hear anyone, from any group, speak poorly of the regulatory aspects of Prop Q. The community oversight is good, the checks and balances are good. Prop Q, in general, was an impressive effort to give community input and patients access, done on an amazingly tight timeframe. The only complaint is that some, including myself, consider the fees excessive. Legal fees are not a given. Many communities have enacted local medical marijuana regulation without drawnout legal battles. The legal battles tend to ensue when the will of the people is not followed and the laws are not enacted in good faith. Lemon Grove already acted in good faith by proposing Prop Q, which properly deals with city planning issues. If Prop Q is to pass and enacted in good faith, my prediction is that it will be embraced by patients as a victory, albeit a consensus compromise, as with all legislative victories are... That said, there will be wrangling and hand wringing over fees.. If Prop T is enacted, and the sales tax measure is considered invalid, there is nothing stopping the City from enacting standard sales tax and collecting cost recovery fees. Is it as much money as prop Q? No, but its good enough for any other business operating in the city, most of which operate for an actual profit. (Remember Prop T and Q require dispensaries to be not-for-profit and member owned, despite the commercial villains they are painted to be by the opposition)
Jerry H Jones November 03, 2012 at 12:38 AM
As many authors as there are on this page that I hold in high esteem, I must say, I'm a bit ashamed. Unlike my father, I find this commentary to be poorly stated, and frankly, insulting to voters of Lemon Grove. Putting aside the fact that you started the article with a statement of acceptance on the merits of medical marijuana, only to spend the rest it proving the opposite - I'm amazed at how little faith you put in your fellow denizen. "Dispensaries are cash businesses, and there’s no monitoring of how much [business they are doing]." "How do we even know sales would be recorded correctly in order for the city to collect its due" - The degree to which these statements are anti-small business is astounding. I suspect it wouldn't be difficult to walk around Lemon Grove and find a number of cash only mom and pop shops. How do you think they'd feel if you told them that, effectively, they weren't to be trusted. Above all, I find it troubling, the degree to which you dismiss the high number of signatures gathered from the citizens of Lemon Grove. They _couldn't_ have signed because they believed in the cause - probably someone lied to them and told them they'd get roads out of the deal, right?
Frank Mockery November 03, 2012 at 06:29 AM
The California Appellate Court recently ruled that storefront medical marijuana dispensaries are legal under Health & Safety Code Section 11362.768 & that local bans are illegal & unenforceable ! The fact is that unless the California Supreme Court can find a legal basis to overturn the lower court decision dispensaries are legal in Lemon Grove now ! And they'll still be legal on November 7th regardless of the results of these ballot measures ! These obstructionists can bitch & whine to their hearts content,but the legal landscape has changed since these measures were proposed & all cannabis patients are asking is that the city of Lemon Grove comply with existing state law ! Deal with it or move to a state where the voters haven't approved medical marijuana yet,but you'd better hurry because there are fewer everyday !
Kevin Berg November 03, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Thank you Ms. Dexter for providing this valuable insight into who is financing the pot shops propositions, the funding is certainly NOT coming from Lemon Grove residents. If Lemon Grove residents want shops selling pot, let them finance and campaign for it. It’s shameful that pot shop profiteers are trying to take advantage of the good, fair people of Lemon Grove. Lemon Grove, like many cities, has its challenges to maintain safe and healthy neighborhoods. Pot shops will not help; it will facilitate more fraudulent use of “medical” pot by our kids. In one example the June 18, 2012 the Journal Watch Psychiatry reported that 74% of teens in two Colorado substance treatment programs admit to using pot that came from pot shops. Let’s vote against Proposition T and Q!
Bong Sativa November 04, 2012 at 06:04 AM
Old,white,angry & clueless a typical opponent of Measure T ! Wake up the courts say local bans are illegal now & Lemon Grove's present one is unenforceable ! Besides aren't you too old to vote anyway ? How old are you ? Will we need to use carbon dating to determine how old you are or should we just cut you in half & count the rings ? LMFAO !!! People with a sense of humor & a sense of decency will be voting YES on T next Tuesday ! Tell your friends,neighbors & family to Vote Yes on Measure T !!!
jeremy pierwin November 04, 2012 at 06:35 AM
This has been an interesting discussion to read - thank you for the commentary. I. however, have a slightly different opinion regarding Prop T & Q. I believe that regulation is always the right answer when it comes to any product that is bought and sold on the market. I do not smoke marijuana, and I certainly do not want my daughter to use marijuana, but I cannot deny the fact that she will undoubtedly be tempted to smoke marijuana at some point during her teenage years. It happened to me, it happened to you, it happens to everyone. My daughter needs to be strong enough to say NO - and if she is not strong enough to say NO, than she needs to take responsibility for her choice. There will be consequences for her making the wrong choice, and she will need to deal with these consequences. Just like there are consequences for drinking alcohol - very horrible consequences that can lead to alcoholism, kidney failure, DUI's, and even death - BUT, we do not make alcohol illegal. We tried that in the early 1900's and it was a dismal failure. As a country we cannot legislate morality; we all know that alcohol can be dangerous, but by making it illegal we do not stop the lust for this product, but instead create a crime ridden black market that absolutely cripples our society. Marijuana is no different - we all know that marijuana can be dangerous, but by making it illegal we create a crime ridden black market (cartels, drug dealers, etc) that absolutely cripples our society.
jeremy pierwin November 04, 2012 at 06:50 AM
I believe that marijuana should be sold in stores and heavily regulated by the state and federal government. Each sale of marijuana should be heavily taxed, and all of these stores should be intensely audited by the IRS every 6 months. We all know that these "medical" dispensaries are truly a gateway to full legalization, and that medical pot shops and marijuana "doctors" are a scam. As citizens of this great state of California, lets stop kidding ourselves with this medical marijuana malarky and just legalize it for anyone over the age of 21 - exactly like we do with alcohol. This seems like the logical, common sense approach - but what gets in the way, is concerned parents trying to protect their defenseless children. As a parent, I totally understand - but I also know that I can not protect my child from the temptation filled world that surrounds us - my daughter will need to be a strong human being and make the right choices in life; I cannot protect her from the world forever; all we can do as parents is educate our children and hope that they make smart choices in life. That is my two cents; once again, I thank you for an excellent discussion and may God bless all of you. Thanks for listening.
J Jones November 04, 2012 at 08:05 AM
This subject is an emotional one and the issues get confusing. The steps to legalization should be Federal first then State and lastly Local. Where we are today is backwards and the potential burden on a small community is unfair. This is not a question of the legality of medical marijuana. California law decided that in 1996 and the Feds have been pushing back ever since. This is a question of land use and proper regulation. All communities have a right to decide their quality of life and must keep a constant vigil to retain that right. What has been proposed in T strips the community of it's input, oversight and ability to finance impact mitigation. No community should ever be shut out of the ability to express their opinion on what will happen to their neighborhood. Input is not dictation but prop T bypasses CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and that's censorship that concerns me. PS Love the alias names. Hint a little less hostility and dictation wins more friends. Then again this is the internet.
Cathy Bliss November 05, 2012 at 07:04 PM
The purpose of law in a democratic society is to maximize human freedom while ensuring safety and social harmony. Just law only limits individual freedoms where people’s choices otherwise would cause harm or limit the freedom of others. Law for any other reason tends towards imperialism and away from democracy and self-government. The current prohibitionary laws regarding medical cannabis excessively limit choices that are meaningful to human health and personal sovereignty for something that presents no substantial, realistic threats to society or citizens. The desire to keep medical cannabis inaccessible to those that need it is not warranted, is not in line with the desires of the majority of those affected and is directly opposed to the overwhelming body of relevant, unbiased, social and medical scientific findings on the topic. This desire represents a de-evolutionary movement, antithetical to the ideals of a self-governing, free society. As voters and concerned citizens it is our role to uphold the ideals of a free society by voting in favor of propositions and candidates that maximize individual freedom and science based law. For this reason I urge you to vote YES on Proposition T (Lemon Grove), Proposition W (Solana Beach), Proposition H (Del Mar) and Proposition S (Imperial Beach).
LemongroveLady November 06, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Quite frankly I really don't care who or how these props got on the ballot......they are here now to be dealt with. In my opinion dispensaries (if they are to exist) should be located in major downtown areas not small working class communities such as ours. We have enough on our plate. Please ask yourself how this would affect our property values and ask would this be acceptable in La Jolla? Because we are incorporated and not in line with the county they are hot to get their foot in our door. The dispenseries will have to be closely watched costing us more money. Money we need for our community. Props Q&T will cheapen our city. VOTE NO and send them somewhere else.
Katie Dexter November 07, 2012 at 11:26 PM
The people of this great city have decided - and I'm so grateful they voted no against both propositions. Maybe now we can move forward and spend our efforts on what's really important to this community - educating our children, providing safe routes to travel, and public safety. Let's work together on bringing in business that will compliment our city and hanging our appeal.
Katie Dexter November 08, 2012 at 06:12 PM
That last line should be enhancing our appeal...sorry about the typo!

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