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Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure Headed for La Mesa, 4 Other Cities?

Measures are sought in five cities—including Encinitas, Lemon Grove and La Mesa—and take their cue from one planned for the city of San Diego.

Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure Headed for La Mesa, 4 Other Cities? Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure Headed for La Mesa, 4 Other Cities?

Updated at 9:30 p.m. March 30, 2012

La Mesa shut down its lone medical marijuana clinic a year ago, closing Paul Peterson’s Pacific Alternative Care at 7882 La Mesa Blvd.

But the city could be haven for pot shops if a proposed ballot measure (see attached PDF) is approved, according to a U-T San Diego report Friday.

Measures sought in five cities—including Encinitas, Lemon Grove and La Mesa—take their cue from one planned for the city of San Diego (attached).

In La Mesa, the U-T quoted Councilman Ernie Ewin as saying: “My concern is that if you want to get it, get it legalized nationwide, not play with it on the state level.”

But before the November 2010 municipal elections, candidate Ewin and others reacted to a question about Proposition 19, the statewide marijuana-legalization initiative that failed 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent.

Ewin told Patch in a questionnaire:

I have always been a proponent of civil liberties. Clearly, every individual interprets the scope and character of those governmentally secured civil liberties in different ways. The legalization of marijuana is currently being discussed at the state level. I hope that proponents on all sides of the debate will weigh carefully the effects of such decisions on the health and safety of all citizens affected.  All that I can assure you with regard to local government's role in administering such legislative changes, is that I strive to uphold the laws set by the will of the people according our state constitution. I firmly believe in the American experiment of government by the people, which creates, in its very essence, the possibility for changes to the body of laws by which we are governed. That said, I imagine that anyone with strong opinions about state governmental issues such as the legalization of marijuana will have opinions about city government as well.

Councilman Mark Arapostathis said in September 2010:

Proposition 19 is a state proposition and will be decided by the voters of California, not the La Mesa City Council. Therefore, I will support the decision made by the voters. If Proposition 19 is passed I will work with our Chief of Police to educate the public on how the change in the law would affect the citizens of La Mesa. I would also work with the city attorney to gain a clear understanding of our rights as a city to exercise our legal authority with regards to any new law. In short, I would do everything I could to educate myself on how this could impact the city of La Mesa.

And mayoral incumbent Art Madrid said: “I do not support Proposition 19 for a variety of reasons, not the least of which will be the problems created by those who will abuse its use.”

A La Mesa City Council meeting in October 2010 also was the venue for debate of the state ballot measure.

The U-T reported that all five efforts are being coordinated by Citizens for Patient Rights with help from the trade group Patient Care Association.

“Our organization has wanted to create safe access throughout as much of the county as possible,” James Schmachtenberger, chairman of the PCA, was quoted as saying.

“As we began collecting signatures for the initiative in San Diego, we saw the need of patients in outlying areas and we realized we were just under the deadline for when ballot measures would need to be turned in to qualify for the election in November.”

In November 2011, a Patch poll asked: Should marijuana for medical and recreational use be legalized on the federal level? The result of the unscientific poll was 87 percent yes, 11 percent no.

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