This November vote No to permitting pot shops

By Carl Hilliard, Del Mar Mayor, and Joe Kellejian, Solana Beach Mayor

In case you think compassionate people are behind the initiative to permit pot shops in Del Mar, Solana Beach, Lemon Grove and Imperial Beach, let us set the record straight. This November you’ll be voting on a measure that in Del Mar (Proposition H) and Solana Beach (Proposition W) was financed and facilitated by a group of current and prospective marijuana shop owners.

In areas where these shops have proliferated, compassion was not the underlying motive. According to Scott Chipman from San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods, “We have learned from law enforcement, businesses and community members that the pot shops are a front for profiteering and drug abuse. They also create problems for surrounding businesses, like loitering, nuisance behavior, even crimes of opportunity since pot shops are a cash business with an easy-to-sell product.”

Because of the seriousness of this proposed measure, Del Mar prepared a 40-page impact report of violations and repercussions. Here are just some of the findings:

•The measure violates state and federal drug laws.

•It also violates California sales tax laws.

•The measure allows convicted felons to operate pot shops.

•The measure has no requirements for recordkeeping, audits, landlord protection or parking provisions.

•If the measure passes, city employees will be in violation of federal law and could face federal prosecution.

•Pot shop permits cannot be revoked or expire, according to the proposed measure.

•Because it violates federal drug laws, the measure would jeopardize city federal grant funds.

•The measure allows six shops to open in Del Mar and twice that number in Solana Beach.

The measure is clearly illegal, says Del Mar City Attorney Bob Mahlowitz. As written, these pot shop ballot initiatives “contain misrepresentations and illegal and improper uses, meaning it may be beyond the power of a city to enact.” He adds that it doesn’t matter if the measure passes because residents vote it in. “It can’t be done,” Mahlowitz says. “It’s illegal.”

Which is why federal law enforcement officials are shuttering pot shops across the state, including San Diego, as well as those cities that attempted to craft permitting ordinances. In essence, this ballot measure is a waste of money and time.

So how did the measure make it to the ballot in the first place? State election code states that if 10 percent of a city’s registered voters sign a petition regarding an ordinance, it must go to a public vote, even if it is found to contain illegalities.

A loophole of sorts in our state election code got the measure on the ballot. In November, we need to vote it off.

For legal reasons and for the best interests of our neighborhoods, vote no to permitting pot shops.