Marijuana and Cannabis News
|Safe Access IB|
Law enforcement and prohibitionist groups are continuing to spend thousands of dollars in San Diego County, California, to craft and enforce unfair restrictions and bans on safe access to medical cannabis. These bans, combined with the recent federal crackdown on patients' rights, have hurt those for whom California's Compassionate Use Act of 1996 was designed in the first place, according to patient advocacy group Safe Access Imperial Beach.
San Diego County patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and other serious conditions are now faced with a difficult choice: either break the law and turn to local neighborhood drug dealers to find their doctor-recommended medicine, or travel a long distance -- in some cases up to 50 miles -- to the nearest permitted dispensary in the remote eastern part of the county.
To protect safe access, stand up for patients' rights, and help implement state law in San Diego County, Canvass for a Cause (CFAC) a San Diego based non-profit with the largest gay rights field program in the county, has partnered with San Diego Americans for Safe Access (SDASA), a local chapter of the nation's largest medical marijuana patients' rights advocacy group.
Starting at the end of March, on a daily basis a team of professional and well-trained activists were sent out across the county to have face-to-face conversations with both supporters and non-supporters. Through these conversations with hundreds of voters on a daily basis they convinced more than 22 percent of those who didn't previously support safe access to pledge their support in 2012.
|Eugene Davidovich: "The CFAC and SDASA partnership has created a real antidote to the reefer madness propaganda spread by prohibitionists in the county and has rsdulted in one of the largest medical cannabis field projects in the state"|
In addition to changing hearts and minds of non-supporters on this issue, activists signed supporters up for monthly and one-time contributions to the campaign as well as recruiting volunteers.
While the educational teams are raising support and changing hearts and minds, another team of activists is assigned to Imperial Beach for signature gathering to overturn the most egregious ban out of all 17 municipalities in San Diego County, and replace it with reasonable regulations.
To place the Safe Access Ordinance of Imperial Beach on the ballot in November, 1,080 valid signatures are needed by June 1, organizer Eugene Davidovich told Toke of the Town Friday afternoon. In the first five weeks of the campaign, more than 1,400 signatures from registered Imperial Beach voters have already been gathered.
With most of the required signatures in the bag, Davidovich said the joint effort is determined to continue sending teams to Imperial Beach daily to ensure more than enough valid signatures are submitted for the initiative to qualify in November.
In addition to the more than 1,400 signatures, activists in have spoken to more than 2,500 residents throughout the county about medical cannabis and have signed up more than 200 of them to make a financial contribution to the campaign. To date, this campaign has raised more than $15,000 in support of safe access in Imperial Beach.
"The CFAC and SDASA partnership has created a real antidote to the reefer madness propaganda spread by prohibitionists in the county and has resulted in one of the largest medical cannabis field projects in the state," Davidovich said. "Together, the groups stand to overturn unfair restrictions and bans in all seventeen municipalities in the county starting with Imperial Beach."
To celebrate the campaign's progress and to raise more awareness and support for the Imperial Beach effort, a fundraiser and celebration was held Friday, April 20 at the CFAC headquarters in Hillcrest. The evening was filled with education, entertainment, and great community building, according to Davidovich. More than 200 guests attended and of the $15,000 total raised in support of the campaign in Imperial Beach, $3,000 came from the fundraiser alone.