|Photo: Coaster420, Wikimedia Commons|
|Medical Marijuana: Legal as long as you don't actually buy it anywhere?|
It's a classic case of disconnect between public policy and public opinion. As District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis continues with her medical Marijuana dispensary crackdown
in San Diego, a new poll indicates that a hefty majority of city residents favor leaving the pot shops open and regulating them.
About 77 percent of San Diego's adult residents agree that the city has an obligation to ensure convenient access to medical Marijuana and 69 percent say the drug should be treated like any other prescription drug.
Only 9 percent want to completely ban the dispensaries.
Dumanis received heavy publicity for saying there are "no such things" as legal Marijuana dispensaries
, despite state law. A voter initiative, Prop 215, legalized medical Marijuana in California in 1996, and SB 420 clarified and expanded the law in 2003.
According to president John Nienstedt and research analyst Elizabeth Shield of poll-takers Competitive Edge
San Diegans, even while supporting safe access for medical Marijuana
patients, tend to oppose legalizing recreational Marijuana use.
Forty-seven percent say they would vote against a measure to legalize
and 40 percent would support it. Eleven percent say they are unsure how
Contrary to the picture painted
by Dumanis of residents being unhappy about the prevalence of
dispensaries in their neighborhoods, 43 percent have no idea whether
there is a dispensary near them. Only 8 percent are aware of a
medical Marijuana dispensary in their neighborhood, and 48 percent
believe their neighborhood has no dispensary.
regulations with the strongest support -- more than 80 percent -- among
San Diegans are 1) requiring employees and managers of dispensaries to
be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check by law
enforcement; and 2) requiring dispensaries to be 1,000 feet from
schools and youth facilities.
strong support, with more than two-thirds of those polled favoring,
were requiring notification letters to be sent to nearby residents
during the dispensary permitting process; prohibiting dispensaries from
locating in residentially zoned areas; and requiring dispensaries to be
More than half (57 percent)
disagree that medical Marijuana dispensaries are associated with
Mexican drug cartels, an accusation heard frequently from anti-pot
zealots like Dumanis.
Almost half (45 percent)
of those polled admit having tried Marijuana at some point in their
lives. Of those who have tried pot, 28 percent admitted using it in the
past year. Of those who have used pot in the past year, 43 percent say
they are medicinal users. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of those who
say they use pot medically buy it at a dispensary or via a door-to-door
results will be presented on Friday to an 11-member advisory task force
created by the San Diego City Council to help establish guidelines for
the use of medical Marijuana in the city.
Diego, like many cities, has no land-use guidelines controlling where
Marijuana collectives or cooperatives may or may not be located.
In September, at least 33 people
operating Marijuana dispensaries were arrested in San Diego County
raids that also shut down 14 storefront dispensaries, including 11 in
San Diego. Dumanis assembled SWAT-style strike forces of San Diego
Police, San Diego County Sheriff's officers, DEA agents, and IRS agents
to descend on the dispensaries, make arrests, seize cash and weed, and
disrupt the local medical Marijuana distribution system.
poll, done on behalf of keepcomingback.com, a Web site for substance
abuse and addiction problems, queried 505 randomly selected adults and
was conducted Oct. 14-17 by the aforementioned San Diego-based Competitive Edge Research
and Communication. Competitive Edge has worked in the past for news
organizations and political candidates.
San Diego Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Survey