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Acting Mayor Gloria reverses pot order of former Mayor Filner

September 12, 2013|By Tony Perry

SAN DIEGO -- Acting Mayor Todd Gloria has reversed a hands-off order by ex-Mayor Bob Filner involving medical marijuana dispensaries.

Just days after taking office, Filner ordered code compliance officers and police officers to stop issuing citations to dispensaries.

In many cases, citations were the first step toward litigation by the city attorney to force dispensaries to close. Filner also opposed such litigation.

The city does not have an ordinance indicating areas where pot dispensaries are allowed. As a result, all of the marijuana dispensaries are operating outside the law.

Along with ordering that no more citations be issued, Filner forwarded a proposed zoning ordinance to the City Council designating certain areas for medical marijuana dispensaries.

But the proposed ordinance failed to win council approval. Several council members said they were concerned that dispensaries could affect residential neighborhoods.

Last week, in his first week as the acting mayor since Filner's Aug. 30 resignation, Gloria informed the city's chief operating officer and assistant chief operating officer that enforcement of zoning violations by pot shops could resume.

Gloria revealed his action Thursday while talking to reporters. As City Council president, Gloria, a fellow Democrat, became acting mayor when Filner resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

“What I want to do,” Gloria said, “is provide some certainty for the patients who need it (medical marijuana) and to the neighborhoods who are afraid of it so we can tell them what the rules of the road look like. Right now we have none."

A new marijuana zoning ordinance, more restrictive than the one sponsored by Filner, is being vetted by neighborhood groups. The proposal should be ready for council consideration by January, a spokeswoman for Gloria said.

During the tenure of Mayor Jerry Sanders, the council adopted and then rescinded a marijuana zoning ordinance.

The pro-marijuana movement, believing the ordinance too restrictive, had sought to have the ordinance submitted to a public vote.

Instead the council in July 2011 dumped it, leaving the dispensaries no location to operate legally; the city attorney followed with aggressive litigation.

More than a dozen dispensaries have opened in recent months while Filner's no-enforcement rule was in effect.

Allowing pot dispensaries to operate outside the law, Gloria said, is "rewarding bad behavior."


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