Less than two months into his first term, the new Democratic mayor of San Diego is coming out big for medical marijuana.

In a series of announcements last week, Mayor Bob Filner sent memos to the city's zoning and code compliance officers calling for an end to all code enforcement actions against medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

According to The Los Angeles Times, he's also preparing to direct the city council to take up the issue of formal zoning rules that incorporate medical marijuana.

Dispensaries in San Diego have been struggling to obtain land use ordinances, which have not been formally adopted for businesses that profit off a drug that is technically illegal under federal law. A prior attempt to create zoning rules for medical marijuana was dropped in 2011 after the industry opposed it.

Speaking to the medical advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) last Wednesday, Mayor Filner predicted it would only take "a few weeks" for the ordinance to be adopted by the council.

He added that the permit rules would be written in such a way that "some places are off limits," like school zones and residential areas, but cautioned that it would require some lobbying and protests to convince the council to go along.

The Times noted that Filner also sent a memo to the chief of police last week, ordering an end to medical marijuana enforcement actions -- a key campaign promise. "I will talk with our police chief," he told ASA on Jan. 9. "You know, when they wrote the 'strong mayor' form of government, they weren't thinking of me. And guess who hires the police chief?"

About a dozen cases are being dropped as a result of the mayor's orders, the Times added.


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