Notes from April Meeting – Medical Marijuana – The Current State of Policy and Access in San Diego

The meeting got underway just after 4pm with club president Susan Peinado welcoming and introducing guests Dave Shermer and Doug Porter together with new members Thermon Hampton, and Angie Lake, and new patron member Eduardo Valerio.

She then introduced Rafael Castellanos, Port Commissioner and candidate for San Diego City Attorney. He provided an overview of his background and candidacy.

Susan also congratulated Andrew Waltz on receiving an award for his new video Sustained San Diego.

Program: Medical Marijuana – the Current State of Policy and Access in San Diego
Susan welcomed and introduced the moderator for the panel Cynara Velasquez, who in turn introduced the panelists: Terrie Best, San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access; Alex Kreit, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Ebon Johnson, Director of the Green Nectar Dispensary.

Cynara provided a historical overview and context on medical marijuana and access in San Diego.

Mr. Alex Kreit noted that San Diego’s strict zoning and land use related to medical marijuana dispensaries narrowly limits access and will yield only 13 dispensaries throughout all of San Diego. He emphasized the need for new legislation in Sacramento to increase access via statewide regulation.

Ms. Terrie Best referred attendees to for additional information on medical marijuana law, medical use, and legal challenges. She noted that the San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access was initiated out of responding to an onslaught of prosecutions of medical marijuana patients by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

Mr. Ebon Johnson noted that he put his application in last April to open a medical marijuana dispensary – by the time he’s opened his MM business in July and in order to be in full compliance with City of San Diego regulations, it will have cost him approximately $300,000. He stated that operating requirements, federal regulations, required collection of personal information on growers and taxes may create additional barriers to access.

Discussion ensued among members, panelists, and attendees.

Program: Growing Our Progressive Voice on the Peninsula
Susan Peinado welcomed and introduced Frank Gormlie of the OB Rag. He provided an overview of, an online newspaper for Ocean Beach, Point Loma, and the world beyond. This outlet provides an alternative news source and is the only progressive news site for the Peninsula. There are 1,500-2,000 readers a day. Their writers are mainly volunteers and a few people receive modest stipends for key community articles. Mr. Gormlie called upon our club members to join the OB Rag as readers and provide a monthly donation of $5-$12 to help keep the OB Rag going.

Treasurer’s Report
Ms. Barbara Houlton reported the current balance in the Treasury.

Old Business
Bylaws Updates: John Loughlin reported that the California Democratic Party has requested changes and updates to the bylaws of Democratic Clubs in order to come into compliance with their standards for sending delegates to the pre-endorsement meetings next year. Members will have received an email (or printed notice) with the proposed changes that members in good standing will be able to vote on at the next meeting on May 17, 2015.

New Business
Endorsement Policies and Procedures: Dev Zavari and José Castillo created a draft endorsement policy for club, to be reviewed by the Executive Board and then presented at the next public meeting of the club.

California Democratic Party State Convention / | May 15-17, with Elizabeth Warren and Barney Frank: Many club members will be attending the CADEM Convention but plan to return in time for the next club meeting on May 17th at 4:00pm.

Upcoming Events and Announcements
Miriam Plotkin announced she is running for Treasurer for the State Disability Caucus and asked members to fill out dues waiver forms for the Caucus.

Women’s Museum – Run Women Run Mixer
Wednesday, May 13, 6:00pm Barracks 16, Liberty Station

Peninsula Community Planning Board
Thursday, May 21, 6:30pm Point Loma Library

New Citizen Voter Registration
Wednesday, May 20, 10:15-12:15pm
3rd Avenue & B Street Plaza near Civic Theater

Ocean Beach Historical Society – OB Exposed Photo Exhibit and Contest
Friday, May 22nd, 6:00-8:30pm
Masonic Center, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd

Ocean Beach Town Council
Wednesday, May 27th, 7:00pm Masonic Center, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd

May 17th, 3:30pm Social; 4:00pm Meeting Starts.
The topic will be on sex trafficking with former prosecutor Sarah Boot.

Susan Peinado adjourned the meeting at 5:39pm.

Minutes taken by: Gretchen Newsom, Secretary
Photographs taken by: Patrick Schultheis, OFA Liaison

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