Mayor Bob Filner vowed Thursday that a city ordinance allowing medical marijuana clinics in San Diego would be ready for debate by the end of February.
Making good on a campaign promise, Filner said the ordinance would “not only allow compassionate use but is tightly controlled and regulated.”
Filner spoke at a breakfast meeting of the San Diego Press Club, telling an audience of 60 at the downtown New School of Architecture and Design that “you need tight regulation” of marijuana clinics, being mindful of neighborhood concerns about children’s access and recreational use.
“But you have to find a balance.”
Citing voter-approved Proposition 215 of 1996, Filner said cities were told to design ordinances to regulate such clinics, and San Diego tried once, “and it got attacked from all sides—so we don’t have any ordinance.”
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told him that stopping code enforcers from sending reports on such clinics “would stop the prosecution,” Filner said in a high-ceilinged lecture room on the school’s first floor.
But such a change brought “internal problems,” he told the meeting, answering questions put to him by Gene Cubbison of NBC San Diego (who recalled first meeting Filner in 1981).
“For example, when a dozen cases [are] in process, what do you do about these?” Filner asked.
So the city has decided to stay with the status quo—with the U.S. attorney, district attorney and city attorney taking what Filner called “too much a persecutorial approach” to pot shops.
Keeping the current practice will prevent people from saying “Filner’s not going to let [prosecutions] happen, so we’ll just open up [clinics],” the mayor said after a breakfast of bagels, muffins and coffee.
Nothing will change in the next month, he said, but “we will have an ordinance ready within 30 days. It’s going to be a controversial thing.”
On another controversy, Filner offered no apology.
“Not to have [universal] background checks, not to have a ban on assault weapons—doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said when asked about whether he supported President Obama’s gun control proposals.
Filner said he does, and noted he’s part of a U.S. mayors coalition seeking tighter rules.
Addressing comments by the head of the National Rifle Association, Filner said: “There are other ways—I have to tell Mr. Wayne LaPierre—to keep a bad guy from having a gun. Just make sure he [won’t] get the gun.”
Background checks and “other ways” would limit access of firearms to such people, Filner said.
“And make sure that good people do not become bad people” through help with mental health resources, he said.
“We’ve got to get to a sane policy … from an insane policy.”