Monday, Sept. 7, 2009 | I applaud your decision to publish the City Council agenda with comment on important issues. I’ve attended a lot of council meetings, and I’m appalled at the lack of public interest in most of them. The politicians and special interests constantly sneak things through under the radar.

An example of this will occur next Tuesday, Sept. 8, at the 2:00 PM session, when a “medical marijuana task force” is to be established to make recommendations on guidelines for patients and caregivers, for the structure of marijuana “cooperatives”, and for police department enforcement. Sound innocuous? Think of the mayor’s task force on Convention Center expansion; the recommendations were preordained by the composition of the group.

Like developers, hotel owners and public employee unions, pot advocates are well organized, well financed and politically savvy. The proposal, as currently worded, specifies an 11 person group to include a medical marijuana patient, an operator of a marijuana outlet, and various others including a lawyer, a “medical professional”, etc. It has no provision for residents who may be concerned about the impact of outlets in their neighborhoods.

The proliferation of “medical” marijuana outlets in the last year ought to concern everyone. E.g., in the Pacific Beach/Mission Beach community alone, there are now eight outlets in an area with a population of about 50,000. All I can say is that’s a lot of sick folk. And, there are indications everywhere of big money behind these openings, with two documented offers of $20,000 up front for a one year lease on tiny storefronts. Any concerned resident would be well advised to attend this council meeting and express his or her concerns. I’ll guarantee you the marijuana community will be well represented.

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