The only official medical marijuana research facility in the country is about to get mothballed. UCSD’s state-funded Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research will reach the end of its 12-year run next year when the money runs out.

Dr. Igor Grant, the center’s director, sits down with us for this week’s Q&A. He talks about marijuana’s now-proven power as a painkiller, the major challenges facing anyone who wants to study marijuana and the debate over medi-pot dispensaries.

The political infighting is “really unfortunate on many levels,” he said. “To me, it reflects a real dysfunction, a huge tension in our society about substances of abuse and recreational drug use.

With marijuana, what has happened is that because the subject is so polarized, people are so worried about drug abuse and cartels. What’s been lost in the shuffle is the patient and the fact that this may be something useful.”

Uproar Over the U-T’s Future

Our interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune’s incoming president/CEO John Lynch had the media world talking on Friday. Ken Doctor, a newspaper industry consultant, paints a grim picture of the future of the U-T under new ownership based on Lynch’s comments:

“We can see where this is going. The ideologically inclined see the bully pulpit value of these declining economic assets — assets still owning significant community sway and agenda-setting abilities — and pick them up. Traditional journalistic standards are simply collateral damage in a world of too much change. Who knows the difference; same masthead, right?

“It’s a lot easier for a single, monied advocate, regardless of political stripe, to buy a cheap property than it is to put together a group of 40 to reclaim it for a ‘community.’

“In San Diego, we’ve moved from an old-fogy, often clueless, newspaper family (the Copleys) to on-so-private equity and now onto more overtly political ownership. The saga of dailies is taking some odd turns, and I fear this is a new chapter we will soon see written in other cities.”  

We’ve posted a transcript of our interview with Lynch. 

“Ugh.” That was the reaction on Twitter of prominent New York Times sportswriter Judy Battista to Lynch’s comments. See more in our roundup of coverage and opinions from around the web about the U-T sale.

Conversation continued to roll in on our stories on the sale and Lynch’s vision.

Greyhound Races From Station

Picture this: “beggars, pimps, drug dealers, runaways, undocumented immigrants, alcoholics, and junkies.” No, it’s not my high school reunion. It’s a Reader writer’s description of the hangers-on at the 80-year-old bus terminal downtown. Now, Greyhound is moving several blocks away. 


What We’ve Learned This Week:

One Scandal, Two Guilty Pleas: Two former officials with the urban-renewal agency that serves southeastern San Diego pleaded guilty to charges that they embezzled public funds. A VOSD investigation sparked the criminal charges.

• One Scandal, Multiple Guilty Verdicts: A jury convicted ex-San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos of soliciting sexual bribes from five women. The police chief told the U-T that suspicions about his misbehavior didn’t reach department leaders.

• Room for Gloom: The financial future for San Diego schools is looking darker. The San Diego Unified superintendent said the district would be headed for insolvency if state cuts happen, and a new forecast predicts those cuts will indeed happen.

• No Account(ability), Part I: A new report exposes a messy accountability system in San Diego schools: many workers never get evaluated after a probation period, and almost half of the employees don’t get evaluated on a regular basis.

• No Account(ability), Part II: San Diego schools are failing to figure out whether smaller class sizes actually help students learn.

• Home Sweet (Very Odd) Home: The hoisting of a strange little cottage to the top of an office building at UCSD went off without a hitch … well, technically, you could say there was an actual hitch. But no matter, everything is topsy-turvy when it comes to the $1 million Fallen Star art project, which is designed to create a sense of disorientation on top of an engineering building on campus.

Check out our Behind the Scene TV segment and photos of the hoisting, along with my story from last week about a most unusual — and most challenging — project


Quote of the Week: “We’d like to be a cheerleader for all that’s good about San Diego.” — former radio executive John Lynch, the incoming president and CEO of the Union-Tribune.


Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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