Pro-Marijuana Group Pulls in Big Green for IB Dispensary Proposition

Published Nov. 1, 2012 by Imperial Beach Patch.

For a complete list of articles related to medical marijuana regulation, visit the IB Patch Prop S Topic page.

Since the start of the year, the Yes on S Committee has raised near $80,000 in total contributions to persuade voters to approve the Safe Access Ordinance of Imperial Beach and allow medical marijuana dispensaries in IB.

That’s more than the amount of money raised by all Imperial Beach City Council candidates combined.

In contrast, Citizens Against Prop S has only raised $3,600 in total contributions, according to financial disclosure documents.

The top donor to Citizens Against Prop is Mayor Jim Janney, who loaned the campaign $700.

Janney said he still believes in ordinances the city passed last year that allow collectives of three people or fewe but prohibits dispensaries, and that Prop S goes far beyond the needs of sick patients.

“They’re [Citizens Against Prop S] not paying for hired consultants. They’re not paying for people to knock on doors,” Janney said when asked why the fundraising gap is so wide. “The candidates who are running for office aren’t even spending that much money.”

In IB, he said, “you shouldn’t have to spend that much money to get elected or put a reasonable proposition out.”

Meanwhile, as of Oct. 20, Proposition Y, a South Bay Union School District bond measure to invest in infrastructure improvements, has raised near $14,000.

Imperial Beach City Council candidate Bobby Patton has raised near $6,000, more money than any other candidate in the race, but 13 times less than the Prop S campaign, campaign finance documents.

Among eight people who gave the No on S campaign more than $100, six live in Imperial Beach, including Port Commissioner Dan Malcolm, Councilman Ed Spriggs, and Pacifica SD Management, a subsidiary of Pacifica Companies, owner of the new Pier South hotel.

In an argument in the ballot pamphlet against Prop S signed by Mayor Jim Janney, opponents labeled the campaign’s funders as “out of town, special interest, profiteers,” and in fact the majority of Yes on S campaign funders come from outside IB.

Among 55 donors who gave more than $100, more than 90 percent live outside Imperial Beach.

Individuals from 15 different cities across San Diego County gave money to the Yes on S campaign.

Among top places of residence for donors, 22 live in San Diego, five are from IB, four from Chula Vista and three from La Jolla and Florida.

As the committee’s formal name states, the Yes on S is sponsored by Canvass for a Cause and Americans for Safe Access.

Canvass for a Cause supports issues like gay marriage, Occupy San Diego and anti-bullying campaigns. Americans for Safe Access strives to increase access to marijuana dispensaries.

The top donor, Amy McQuillin of Ramona, CA, gave $20,300 to the Yes on S campaign. McQuillin is a member of Americans for Safe Access and supports Occupy San Diego and Americans for a Department of Peace.

Yes on S has been able to raise money from across San Diego, said Eugene Davidovich, head of ASA and the Yes on S campaign manager, in part because dispensaries across the county and state have been shut down.

The Yes on S campaign started in April to gather signatures to get the proposition on the ballot, while Citizens Against Prop S didn’t get started until September.

“They haven’t spent nearly as much time working on this issue or studying this,” he said.

The Yes on S campaign currently has had a total of 50 paid and unpaid people go door-to-door, Davidovich said.

Davidovich said Canvass for a Cause and Americans for Safe Access have not supported a medical marijuana ballot initiative this way before, and the current and former mayors and council members taking part in the no campaign should have the advantage.

“If anything, their infrastructure has existed for many more years, even longer than Canvass for a Cause has existed,” he said. “The only people that gave them money are the entrenched politicians and prohibitionists who have been against this issue for whatever reasons that they have.”

$60,000 in monetary contributions given to the Yes on S campaign went to pay for, among other things, a billboard on Palm Avenue, online advertising, yard signs, Canvass for a Cause support and near $16,000 in consultant fees.

Sam Spear, Heidi Whitman and Davidovich, who were paid consultant fees, are leaders at Canvass for a Cause or Americans for Safe Access.

In nonmonetary contributions, the campaign received tattoo and drag dinner show gift certificates, free pizza, gift baskets, bongs and pipes, rolling papers and much more.

Opponents have also called funders of the Yes on S campaign marijuana industry special interests.

Analysis of occupations listed by donors who gave more than $100 found six people directly connected to the medical marijuana industry.

Five owned or operated a medical marijuana dispensary, among them Robert Reidell. In September, his Mother Earth Co-Op was the final dispensary to close in San Diego.

There were also academic medical journal editors, retired veterans, a lawyer, a spa owner, a bodybuilder, an organic farmer, a U-T San Diego employee (graphic artist Shaffer Grubb), the owner of a parenting advice and family planning company and unemployed and retired individuals.

Homemaker Patsy Brown of Imperial Beach gave $200 to Citizens Against Prop S and $215 to Yes on S. Patch sought comment from Brown but she has not yet responded.

One Response to “Pro-Marijuana Group Pulls in Big Green for IB Dispensary Proposition”

  1. […] Yes on S campaign, sponsored by Americans for Safe Access and Canvass for a Cause, has raised more money than all Imperial Beach City Council candidates […]