Medical marijuana dispensaries battle to remain in San Diego

The controversial issue of regulating medical marijuana dispensaries was front and center at City Hall on Monday afternoon.

This is all about the City's new regulations on the storefront collectives, and whether they should be repealed.

Last April, after much debate, discussion which included a city medical marijuana task force, the City Council adopted new restrictions regarding medical marijuana dispensaries. But, medical marijuana advocates say the council ignored the task force and adopted restrictions which are unreasonable.

“The medical marijuana task force made wonderful recommendations that were not implemented, they were changed at the last minute into zoning restrictions and they were made much more restrictive than they were intended to be,” said one activist who addressed the council.

Foremost among them: requiring the City's estimated 160 collectives to shut down and apply for permits. Also, the dispensaries would be limited to certain commercial and industrial zones, at least 600 feet from one another, as well as from schools, parks and churches.

Advocates went out and collected enough signatures to qualify a ballot measure on the issue.

Monday, the council was faced with a choice: conduct an expensive election or repeal the ordinance.

Supporters of strict regulations say the proliferation of such clinics has led to abuse, especially among young adults.

“I can't understand why the shops are still open without businesses licenses, that's not legal,” said one supporter.

Medical marijuana advocate Donna Lambert appeared on KUSI's Good Morning San Diego.

“That is the one main reasons why it's important for us to work with the council and the police to end such abuses, we can do that by bringing the issue out of the shadows and into the mainstream, we can get rid of that,” said Lambert.

Under the headline, “be careful what you wish for,” the City Council reluctantly voted six-to-two to repeal the ordinance, rather than spend upwards of a million dollars for an election.

Council members cautioned that since a compromise wasn't reached, it's likely none will ever be able to be found.

Which could lead to a moratorium or an outright ban of medical marijuana dispensaries in the City.

Categories: KUSI