Supervisors condemn state proposition to legalize marijuana

By City News Service

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously condemned a statewide ballot measure to legalize small amounts of marijuana, calling Proposition 19 poorly written and dangerous.

“It raises many health and safety issues,” Supervisor Ron Roberts said.

County supervisors recently passed an ordinance regulation how and where medical marijuana exchanges can operate, and the city is considering a similar set of rules.

A county resolution against Proposition 19 states that implementing the act would worsen the budget strain of state and local governments because of the need to create regulations and oversight.

The quasi-legal weed, however, could bring in a mother lode of new tax dollars.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said passage would lead to an increase of people driving under the influence of the drug, something prosecutors are seeing more of already.

“It’s not smart to legalize a mind-altering substance,” Dumanis said.

Even the title of the initiative, the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannibis Act of 2010,” is misleading because it does none of those things, she said.

“By passing on responsibility to local governments to regulate marijuana use, there is the strong possibility that we will see a patchwork of conflicting local laws and regulations developed with no unified state standards,” the supervisors’ resolution states.

A handful of people involved in anti-drug abuse organizations spoke in support of the board’s action, while the only opponent was not allowed to speak because she was late.

Gretchen Burns Bergman, of “A New PATH, Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing,” said later that laws against marijuana were akin to prohibition.

The same people are arrested over and over, interrupting the recovery process, she said.

Parents in her group are “fed up with their children’s life and liberty being taken from them by these punitive policies,” Bergman said.

In recent years, pot shops have flourished based on state law dating to 1996 that enables people with recommendations from doctors to smoke, grow and exchange the stuff through nonprofit dispensaries. But in cities like Los Angeles, the number of shops grew to about 1,000 before city officials passed regulations.