Council names 11 to medical marijuana task force


The City Council on Tuesday appointed 11 people to a task force that will be charged with developing regulations to govern medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego.

The Medical Marijuana Task Force will review guidelines for medical marijuana patients and caregivers, the operation of dispensaries and growing cooperatives and the ground rules for police enforcement.

The panel has been directed to make preliminary recommendations by the start of the year.

Appointed to the task force were:

-- Craig Balben, a community planner;

-- Stephen Whitburn, a former City Council candidate and community


-- Dave Potter, a land use professional;

-- John Minto, a retired San Diego Police Department officer;

-- Mark-Robert Bluemel, a lawyer;

-- Alex Kreit, a law professor;

-- Kim Twolan, a medical marijuana collective director;

-- Dr. Thomas Cummings, a medical doctor;

-- Larry Frank Sweet, a medical marijuana patient;

-- Dave Martin, a small business owner; and

-- Rev. Wayne Riggs, a social service provider.

It became legal in California for seriously ill patients under the supervision of a physician to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215.

The City Council voted last month to establish the task force amid heightened community concern about the proliferation of unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego.

A day after the council created the task force, 31 people were arrested during raids at 14 medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego County. The raids, which just targeted the storefronts and not medical marijuana patients, were coordinated by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

The Board of Supervisors recently approved a moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County.

Councilman Carl DeMaio was the only member of the City Council to oppose the formation of the task force. He argued that the law outlined by the state was clear. He also rejected today’s appointments to the task force.

The Medical Marijuana Task Force will convene its first meeting on Friday at 9 a.m. at City Hall. The meeting, which will be held in the Council Committee Room, will be open to the public.