Signatures collected to support medical pot dispensaries

May 7, 2011

A small group of vol­un­teers with the San Diego chap­ter of Amer­i­cans for Safe Access spent their Sat­ur­day ask­ing passersby in down­town Ocean­side to sign a let­ter addressed to city offi­cials voic­ing sup­port for med­ical mar­i­juana access in Ocean­side. It’s part of an effort to tar­get munic­i­pal­i­ties such as Ocean­side that are fight­ing to keep med­ical mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries out of the city, said Eugene Davi­dovich, a coör­di­na­tor with the San Diego group. Within four hours, Davi­dovich and seven oth­ers had col­lected 163 signed let­ters sup­port­ing “rea­son­able reg­u­la­tions for med­ical cannabis facil­i­ties and safe access for patients in the City of Ocean­side.” It’s only the begin­ning, they said. Davi­dovich is orga­niz­ing a sec­ond signature-gathering event later this month in Ocean­side. “We want (city offi­cials) to know that there is sup­port from res­i­dents of Ocean­side,” he said. “In the past (city offi­cials) have said there is no sup­port for med­ical mar­i­juana in Ocean­side. Hope­fully, these let­ters will get them on the right path. Peo­ple shouldn’t have to go to the streets for their med­i­cine.” Cal­i­for­nia passed a voter-approved law in 1996 allow­ing for the use of mar­i­juana among those who required it med­ically. Coun­ties such as San Diego have chal­lenged the law, argu­ing that it vio­lates fed­eral laws ban­ning mar­i­juana. Mean­while, munic­i­pal­i­ties have dealt with dis­pen­saries in ways they see fit. Offi­cials in Ocean­side in 2009 issued a mora­to­rium on dis­pen­saries and, pend­ing the expi­ra­tion of that mora­to­rium, are now weigh­ing a pos­si­ble ban. The news cap­tured the atten­tion of the San Diego chap­ter of Amer­i­cans for Safe Access, which is mak­ing efforts to col­lect sup­port in munic­i­pal­i­ties where the safe access of med­ical mar­i­juana is at stake, Davi­dovich said. Peo­ple walk­ing on the side­walks near the Ocean­side Munic­i­pal Pier on Sat­ur­day either ignored the vol­un­teers with clip­boards, waved their hands in refusal, or stopped to sign. The effort, aimed only at col­lect­ing sig­na­tures from Ocean­side res­i­dents, attracted a vari­ety of peo­ple. Eighteen-year-old Lucy West­hius of Ocean­side approached the group after over­hear­ing the word “mar­i­juana.” She said her father’s best friend has can­cer and relies on the drug for pain relief. “I know a lot of peo­ple who smoke it because they need it,” she said. “It has helped a lot of peo­ple.” Farshid Fotoohi of Ocean­side also stopped to sign the let­ter. The older gen­tle­man said he suf­fered hip prob­lems for much of his life and in the past, mar­i­juana was the only thing that helped. “It’s far bet­ter than the Vicodins, the Oxy­con­tin, all the poi­sons doc­tors push on peo­ple, things peo­ple have over­dosed on and died from,” he said. “I can come up with 1,000 rea­sons why peo­ple should be able to (gain access to mar­i­juana).” Vol­un­teer James Stacy, whose Vista dis­pen­sary was raided by police and sub­se­quently closed, said law­mak­ers are ignor­ing the “will of the vot­ers” by tar­get­ing med­ical mar­i­juana use. “These cities are break­ing state law,” he added.

Read the orig­i­nal post:
Sig­na­tures col­lected to sup­port med­ical pot dispensaries

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