Superior Court Sides with the City of Lemon Grove

By Kathleen McLean

Recently the citizens of Lemon Grove have been approached by signature gatherers seeking to amend the Lemon Grove Municipal Code by altering two parts of the initiative. The first is eliminating the 1,000-foot buffer zone between Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and small licensed daycares. Day Care centers with twelve children maximum qualify as a small daycare. The second would allow for mobile delivery of medical marijuana throughout Lemon Grove.

If Citizens for Public Safety and Safe Access gather enough signatures from Lemon Grove residents, it will force the city to have a Special Election which has an estimated cost of up to $300,000. Unfortunately, the group had collected signatures on petitions missing approximately half of the Official Title prepared by the City Attorney. The Official Title is required to be on all Initiative Petitions. When the signatures were turned into the City of Lemon Grove, Susan Garcia, a clerk refused to accept petitions after she noticed they were missing the required Official Title.

Citizens for Public Safety and Safe Access have spent a great deal of time and money collecting signatures to get a special election. When Ms. Garcia refused to accept them the group sued the city (CASE No. 37-2017-00035975-CU-WM-CTL), and the Superior Court determined that leaving out the Official Title violated state law. (California Elections Code Section 9203.). This puts the group behind but, they do still have 60 days to get back out to the public and collect signatures.

The City of Lemon Grove responded to the lawsuit that included Declarations from citizens who stated that signature gatherers used misleading tactics which claimed the proposed Initiative “protects” children in order to gain more signatures.

The court cited a 2006 California Supreme Court Case which stated “in instances in which a departure from a statutory requirement has been found to pose a realistic threat to the accuracy and integrity of the process-for example, by misleading the potential signers of an initiative petition regarding a significant feature of the proposed measure through the of confusing or incomplete title courts have not been tolerant of such departures from procedural safeguards and have rejected claims that those who signed the petition could have avoided confusion by relying upon the full text of the measure included in the petition this absent all the full title on the petitions.”

San Diego is home to the nation’s largest military personnel. San Diego is also the number one destination for veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. More than 200,000 veterans live right here in our city. These citizens deserve the right to have safe access to their medication. Making delivery of medicinal marijuana in Lemon Grove is an awful way to show gratitude for the people that risked their lives for our freedom.

For a veteran to have to travel to receive their medicinal marijuana when it should be as easy as a phone call is not ok. Veterans using cannabis have chosen a way to try and relieve the pain they are in. Not allowing delivery in Lemon Grove could mean money on an Uber or public transportation to get access to their meds. Many of these veterans suffer from PTSD, social anxiety, and acute pain. Delivery may be their only option to their meds. We are urging residents in Lemon Grove to sign the petition and get it on the ballot so citizens can decide for themselves if the proposed initiatives work for them.