Midway group listens to pitch from medical marijuana reps
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 07/22/15 - 01:01 PM | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Midway Community Planning Group (MCPG) heard a pitch from attorneys representing medical marijuana cooperatives, who expressed that industry’s willingness to work with the community to help solve local problems, like homelessness.

The advisory group in July also got a progress report on MCPG’s ongoing community plan update.

Attorney Michael Cindrich, a former district attorney prosecutor who’s now an advocate for the medical cannabis industry with his consulting firm, Green Capital Ventures, told the group he wasn’t there to change anyone’s viewpoint on medical marijuana. Instead, he said he wanted to convey receptiveness by the cooperative industry to work with the community to mutually solve problems afflicting the Midway-Pacific Highway Corridor.

The Corridor is a hodgepodge of commercial, industrial, office and warehouse land uses, plus limited residential, in a transitional area bordering Old Town, Point Loma, Pacific Beach and downtown San Diego.

“We know (some in) the community’s feelings regarding this type of business,” said Cindrich. “What we want to do is create community improvement, and develop a plan to do that based on cooperation.”

Noting medical marijuana cooperatives have worked successfully with communities elsewhere in the state to achieve public improvements, Cindrich said there’s no reason that can’t be accomplished in San Diego.

“We want to give back to the community and allow our industry to actually work with the (other) businesses to have a positive impact,” said Cindrich.

Noting Midway has a “very large homeless population” and problems with alcohol and drug abuse, Cindrich added there is an “opportunity” to work together for the common good on social problems and other needs, like community beautification.

Business improvement district

MCPG chair Melanie Nickel suggested cooperatives could tackle efforts to re-establish a business improvement district (BID) in Midway.

“The community used to have a BID that did a lot of good planting trees, doing clean-up projects and working with homeless providers,” noted Nickel. “There is money set aside for this (a BID) but it can’t be used until a nonprofit BID is restarted.”

“You (cooperatives) could spearhead it (BID) and use that (new) group as a driving force,” suggested MCPG board member Kurt Sullivan.

“A lot of the preliminary work has been done,” added Nickel pointing out a recent MCPG board member, who has left the group, was trying to revive the BID, including creating a new website for it.

After the meeting, Cindrich said his consulting firm is exploring the possibility of restarting a Midway BID adding, if it proves feasible, that the goal would be to “set up the structure of it before handing it off to the community.”

In other action:

• Nickel said there is at least one, and likely two, vacancies open on the MCPG group. She said a volunteer, not necessarily and advisory group member, is needed to attend quarterly meetings of the San Diego County Airport Authority on behalf of the group.

• MCPG will be dark in August and the group will next meet Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 3 p.m. at San Diego Community College-West City Campus, Room 205

• City staffer Vickie white said work on a draft of MCPG’s community plan update will be ready for public review soon with an eye toward City Council approval in fall 2016. MCPG board member Cathy Kenton questioned the viability of reviewing a draft plan update when the traffic analysis for it is not yet complete. “We’re sitting here spinning our wheels spending money on something that’s not happening,” Kenton said.

“So much goes into developing a community plan that it takes a Village,” replied White.
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