Several people have sent a public records request to the City Attorney demanding to see any contacts I, Gary DeLong and Patrick O'Donnell have made with our constituents concerning regulating medical marijuana collectives.
While folks I think we are spending far too much time on this issue -- especially since the City continues to struggle with a bad economy --- my office complied with the request as we always do.
What the requesting party is finding is that I personally answer my emails. Now this can be good or bad depending on whichever way you look at it. Unlike other council members who don't answer their emails personally, I have a written record of my opinion -- which I personally believe is good. But that also means everything I write can be taken out of context and pointed back at me.
For instance, the requesting party wanted to know what I meant in my email to a constituent who complained about having marijuana collectives in Long Beach that I don't want the collectives and I didn't think we could make any changes to the ordinance that we passed earlier this year.
I meant what I wrote. I don't want marijuana collectives in my predominantly residential council district. With the most schools, libraries and parks in the City, I don't want the collectives located near where children gather. That's why I have been consistent about advocating for the buffer zones around schools, parks, libraries, etc. I also don't want more liquor stores and bars in the district (stop right here -- I cannot do anything to remove the current ones) and my residents were very vocal when a bar attempted to reopen on Woodruff and Spring --- and it didn't.
That being said, instead of outright voting against them I felt it was important to help craft an ordinance that was reasonable and if other council members wanted the collectives in their districts then so be it.
At the time I received emails about changing the initial ordinance -- which by the way did not include a buffer zone for parks -- I was under the impression that we could not make changes. However, I consulted with the City Attorney who informed me that since no permit was issued there was no vested right for anyone to operating a collective and that if the council felt it needed to make revisions, it could do so. And so I advocated for several changes -- including putting the park buffer back where it should have been when it was first raised. Thankfully my colleagues agreed.
So there you have it. I will get blasted for saying what I believe by those who are looking for any reason to loosen up the ordinance.
But this may all become moot -- which is a legal expression for of little or no practical meaning -- because if the collectives who are suing us on the basis that federal law pre-empts state and local law get a ruling in their favor -- it will mean that federal law becomes the controlling law in this matter. And if that is the case, federal law considers marijuana to be a controlled substance and thus illegal to possess or to "sell."
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If you contact Gerrie Schipske through this site on any matter pertaining to the City of Long Beach, a copy of your contact will be forwarded to her official city email as an official public record.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Save Station 18
For the first time in the history of California, politicians of either major party will NOT be having influence on how the boundary lines ar...