Mayor Bob Filner has taken City Attorney Jan Goldsmith's advice and ordered the city to stop filing code-enforcement violations against medical-marijuana dispensaries.
Here's the letter (.pdf) he sent this morning to Kelly Broughton, director of the city's Development Services Department:
Re: Stop the Crackdown on Marijuana Dispensaries
I am writing to direct the Department of Neighborhood Code Compliance to stop targeted code enforcement against marijuana dispensaries in the City of San Diego immediately.
Further, pursuant to a letter from the City Attorney dated January 9, 2013, I am directing your Department to stop sending dispensary code enforcement cases to the City Attorney's Office for prosecution.
To be clear, if there are general code enforcement or health and safety issues arising from these businesses, you are expected to enforce those laws against these businesses in the same manner you would any other business.
If you have any questions, please contact my office directly.
The letter comes two days after Filner publicly attacked Goldsmith for filing civil-actions against dispensaries and promised to testify on behalf of patients in court.
This, of course, will have little direct impact on the criminal cases filed by the U.S. Attorney and District Attorney.
UPDATE: Filner sent essentially the same letter to San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne. Read them both here.
At the end of the day, Filner issued this statement:
“Until we have a new set of regulations for medical marijuana distribution, I have asked the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department and the Police Department to temporarily halt all prosecutions of city zoning code violations when it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries
As I made very clear during my campaign for Mayor, I support the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and am committed to ensuring the people who legitimately need it for relief of pain are not kept from accessing it.
I also want to assure the residents of San Diego that there will be the utmost safeguards surrounding these dispensaries. They will not be near schools, playgrounds or any areas where children might gather. Nor will they be allowed to infringe on the quality of life in any neighborhood.
I believe that, in order to be a great city, we must also be a humane city and show compassion toward those who need help in dealing with chronic pain.
I plan to bring a proposed ordinance to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries to the San Diego City Council soon. ”