San Diego Mayor Bob Filner ordered city officials to cease crackdowns of medical marijuana dispensaries Thursday, reiterating his support to “ensuring the people who legitimately need [medical marijuana] for relief of pain are not kept from accessing it.” The city’s police and code compliance officials had been cracking down on the dispensaries for violating city zoning rules, and Filner’s order will halt pending prosecutions against a dozen dispensaries. But about 100 others have already been shuttered by the effort, and the order will not affect those dispensaries.
Although medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, the city of San Diego never implemented zoning rules for where dispensaries may locate. Filner told an audience from the city’s chapter of Americans for Safe Access earlier last week that he would work to pass a zoning law, and halted prosecutions pending the proposal of such an ordinance. The order does not affect federal officials’ authority to crack down on dispensaries, as they have in more than 200 cases in San Diego and the surrounding areas, in the continuing federal-state showdown over both medical and recreational marijuana.