International Cannabis Business Conference

San Diego Mayor Backs Medical Marijuana

Mayor Bob Filner
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner: "I want regulated access for those that are suffering from chronic pain and cancer."

Mayor Bob Filner wants to give medical marijuana another chance in San Diego. The previous administration presided over the closure of more than 100 dispensaries.

The Democrat Filner took over for two-term Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders in December.

On Jan. 8, Filner attended a meeting hosted by the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access. Standing side by side with patients, activists and former shop owners at the La Jolla Brew House, he criticized San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, whom he said "has not been very helpful." His goal is to stop the "prosecution" and "persecution" of stores and patients. "The public has to understand what's going on," Filner added. "We've got to treat it as an educational thing and maybe the D.A. and others will respond to some of the political pressure… I think the humanitarian concern that we should all feel for these people who are in pain should prevail."

The next day, Goldsmith asked Filner in a letter to "direct us to cease and dismiss all enforcement actions against marijuana dispensaries. We will, of course, comply with that direction." Filner did just that.

Update: Mayor Filner has taken up the cause of local jailed dispensary owner Ronnie Chang, who was arrested by the Feds in 2009. On May 20, at a press conference, he described Chang as "a guy who has legal permits, he’s jailed without bail and now no one can even talk about the case." The Mayor added: "I want what I call regulated access for those that are suffering from chronic pain and cancer."

On May 21, Filner attended a pretrial for Chang and called on the jurors to nullify the case. "This is way overdoing it when local laws, state laws allow compassionate use of medical marijuana,” he told reporters. "It's time, like with Prohibition, to step back and say this was a stupid thing to do. Let's step back, and juries ought to take the lead and say that to the federal government… and if the federal government isn't listening to the mayor, maybe they'll listen to the jury."

Update: Filner has been accused of sexual harassment and improper behavior with female staffers. On July 22, one of Filner's accusers filed a suit against the him and the city of San Diego.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, editor-in-chief of Freedom Leaf, co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness, and the former editor of High Times.