Under Prop. 215, approved by California voters in 1996, marijuana was deemed to have a legal, medicinal use.
Federal laws and local regulations have posed conflicts in carrying out the measure's intent, from the standpoint of distribution.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner recently proposed an ordinance to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in commercial and industrial areas for a $5,000 yearly permit fee and a 2-percent city tax on sales.
In addition, the proposal calls for dispensaries to be at least 600 feet away from K through12 schools, public parks, childcare facilities and playgrounds.
"I've tried to strengthen some of the regulations, while at the same time easing the access,” Filner said recently. “Hopefully there's a balance there that the Council will find appropriate.”
The San Diego City Council will discuss the issue on April 22.
Eugene Davidovich of San Diego Americans for Safe Access believes the mayor’s plan is on the right path.
“We have to have this discussion and at the end of the day, those who truly need this medicine deserve that access,” Davidovich said.
However, opponents like Scott Chipman with San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods see no legal way to sell marijuana for profit under current state and federal law.
Is the proposal a case of “back-door legalization” or are opponents suffering from “reefer madness and prohibitionist mindset?”
See the discussion Sunday, March 31 at 9 a.m. on "Politically Speaking" immediately following "Meet the Press."