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Wednesday, Jan 09, 2013 - Last Blog on Earth | News

City Attorney: Mayor can stop civil action against dispensaries in 30 seconds

Goldsmith slams mayor over statements made to medical-marijuana advocates

By Dave Maass
jangoldsmithsandiego Jan Goldsmith
- Photo by David Rolland

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith was not amused by Mayor Bob Filner's remarks at last night's meeting of the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access. 

Filner told the crowd of medical-marijuana activists that Goldsmith had forgotten the limits of his role as the city's legal counsel and that he would make him stop his "persecution" of medical-marijuana collectives. Filner also suggested that Goldsmith was a "little guy" who could be intimidated. 

In response, Goldsmith sent Filner a letter this morning saying that the mayor could stop him in "30 seconds." All Filner has to do is tell the police department and the city's code-enforcement department to stop forwarding cases to his office. Goldsmith indicated that he was proud of his successful efforts to close nearly 100 dispensaries. 

We sent Filner's press secretary, Lena' Lewis, an email this morning asking whether Filner would take such action. We so far have received no response. 

Here's the text of Goldsmith's letter (.pdf). 

Dear Honorable Mayor Filner:

I understand you addressed a meeting of marijuana advocates last night during which you criticized my office's code enforcement actions against marijuana dispensaries. You called our efforts "persecutions", suggested demonstrations and stated you will work to stop us. 

As you know, these actions were taken at the request of Neighborhood Code Compliance and the San Diego Police Department, both under your authority. We do not investigate code violations on our own and do not pursue legal action without direction from Neighborhood Code Compliance. 

Both of the City agencies came to us and requested that we mount an aggressive code enforcement action to address the proliferation of illegal marijuana dispensaries that were impacting our neighborhoods. They sent over some 100 cases and, through civil injunctions, we were able to close virtually all of them. Working with these agencies and others, we were able to get this problem under control. 

Other California jurisdictions have since tried to follow our lead with mixed results. Our success depended upon good cooperation, strategic lawyering and hard work. 

Rather than pursue the drama last night and call for a demonstration, you could have achieved your goal in less than 30 seconds. Neighborhood Code Compliance and San Diego Police Department are under your authority. As you know, you can direct them to stop sending cases to us and, instead, direct us to cease and dismiss all enforcement actions against marijuana dispensaries. We will, of course, comply with that direction. 

Until that happens (and there has been no official indication it has), our office is obligated to review any cases we receive from Neighborhood Code Compliance for possible enforcement action.

Given your comments last night, I ask that you give written directions to Neighborhood Code Compliance, the San Diego Police Department and our office as to how you want to proceed. 

Sincerely

Jan I. Goldsmith

City Attorney 

 
 
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