SAN DIEGO -- Patient spokespeople will be available for live interviews at 10 am today in front of the San Diego County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway. Spokespeople will be available for interviews and visuals to discuss poll results, San Diego Supervisors' plans to sue state in effort to overturn California's medical marijuana law, and advocates' plans for a medical marijuana rally on Tuesday, January 10 at noon, followed by public comments at the Supervisors' meeting at 2 pm.

  • Steph Sherer, medical marijuana patient and director-founder of Americans for Safe Access, the nation's largest medical marijuana rights organization,
  • Rudy Reyes, an archaeologist and teacher who suffered third degree burns over 75 percent of his body during the cedar fires, and uses marijuana to treat related chronic pain,
  • Dion Markgraaf, a medical marijuana patient-member of San Diego Americans for Safe Access,
  • Barbara MacKenzie, patient and widow of Steve McWilliams, longtime San Diego advocate.

Poll: Voters support medical marijuana law

Supervisors want to overturn law

By Jeff McDonald
January 9, 2006

Two out of three San Diego County voters support the state law allowing sick and dying patients to use marijuana, according to a poll scheduled to be released today. An even wider majority said county supervisors should not spend public money trying to overturn the law.

A Washington, D.C., advocacy group called the Marijuana Policy Project commissioned the poll after the San Diego County Board of Supervisors refused late last year to implement the state medical marijuana law.

County supervisors plan to sue the state later this month to try to overturn the law. California voters approved the law in 1996, but it has been held up in courts for years because marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

The telephone poll was conducted Jan. 3 and 4 by the opinion research firm Evans/McDonough Co. It asked 500 registered voters – 100 in each supervisorial district – to answer a series of questions regarding medical marijuana and other issues. The poll had a margin of error of 4.38 percent.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob dismissed the survey as politically motivated.

According to the survey, 67 percent of San Diego County voters said they support Proposition 215, the landmark initiative approved by voters a decade ago. More decisively, the pending lawsuit 'is wasting taxpayers' money,' 80 percent of respondents said.

'Every city, county, state and national poll conducted in the U.S. over the last 25 years has shown that a clear majority of voters support legal medical marijuana, and San Diego County is no exception,' Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project said in a statement.

'The supervisors pursue this suit at their own peril.'

Despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer that upheld the federal government's authority to prosecute marijuana users, California law requires counties to issue identification to registered medical marijuana patients.

A majority of San Diego County supervisors – Pam Slater-Price, Bill Horn and Jacob – voted last month to reject that mandate. Instead, they announced they would seek to overturn the state's medical marijuana law in court.

Jacob questioned the survey's results.

This is a poll bought and paid for by a special-interest group with a clear-cut agenda,' Jacob said. 'The results aren't credible. More importantly, the county's legal challenge isn't about popular opinion. It's about resolving a clash of state and federal laws.'

Slater-Price and Horn did not return telephone calls Friday regarding the survey results.