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Ballot arguments submitted over medical marijuana dispensaries

Supporters and opponents of Measure F, an initiative to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Encinitas, recently each turned in an argument that will appear with voter information pamphlets for November’s election.

The argument against states, in part, that neighboring cities haven’t approved the dispensaries. So if Measure F passed, it would make Encinitas a destination for those seeking marijuana.

“Marijuana storefronts have been crime magnets because they have ready cash and an easy product to steal,” the argument states.

The position was signed by resident Nancy Logan and John Redman, the executive director of Californians for Drug Free Youth, among others.

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It goes on to say that medical marijuana would provide easy access for teenagers.

On the flip side, the argument in favor of Measure F states that more than a majority of Encinitas residents favored California’s Proposition 19, the failed initiative that would have legalized marijuana.

“In 2010, the voters of Encinitas again chose to defeat the black market and reaffirmed their desire for regulation and oversight of marijuana … despite the clear will of the public, there is still no safe access for marijuana.”

The position was signed by James Schmachtenberger, as well as four other residents.

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It also states that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for the effects of cancer radiation therapy, as well as arthritis and other conditions.

Measure F proposes to place an additional 2.5 percent retail tax on medical marijuana, which would be allocated to the city’s general fund.

Opponents have noted that Del Mar’s city attorney said in an impact report for a similar 2012 initiative that the 2.5 percent tax violated the law, because local governments can add only up to 1 percent in taxes.

Consequently, if it had passed, the Board of Equalization would have stopped collecting taxes in the city, the report said. Hence, the city would need extra staff to collect taxes.

But Encinitas City Attorney Glenn Sabine didn’t go that far in his impartial analysis of Measure F, which was released Aug. 16.

According to his analysis, “A legal question exists as to whether the proposition’s taxation provisions, which propose a unique city tax on medical marijuana exceeding the uniform sales tax rate imposed by California law, would require the Board of Equalization to cease collecting all sales tax in Encinitas.”

His analysis goes on to say that there’s a question over whether the federal government could prosecute city employees who issue permits for medical marijuana. It also states that the initiative potentially violates California law by not allowing state law enforcement to arrest or prosecute those with medical marijuana in Encinitas.

Measure F would permit dispensaries in industrial and commercial zones. They would be prohibited from operating within 1,000 feet of each other or 600 feet of a school.

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And the initiative wouldn’t allow cannabis to be visible from a store exterior. Also forbidden: Sales to those under the age of 18, unless the minor is a qualified patient accompanied by a guardian.

For the full arguments on Measure F and the city attorney analysis, visit the city’s website.

Correction: In a previous version of this article, James Schmachtenberger was misidentified as the chairman of the Patient Care Association. The Patient Care Association no longer exists. Schmachtenberger is a resident supporting Measure F.


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