San Diego pot dispensaries are closing down

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Medical marijuana collectives in San Diego are starting to shut down, one by one.

They say they are being forced out of business as the city’s new medical marijuana ordinance goes into effect.

A dispensary in the center of Pacific Beach is open seven days a week, and it does a brisk business, but not for long.

The owner says his doors will be closing soon. In a few weeks, or at most, in just a month or two.

The dispensary on Garnet Avenue is just one of a handful of medical marijuana dispensaries still operating in Pacific Beach.

Ryan Murphy says San Diego’s new law, which regulates marijuana dispensaries, is starting to kick in.

His landlord, under pressure from the city, is forcing him out.

One by one, the dispensaries are closing, none of them meet the conditions of the new law, which requires a 1,000-foot separation between schools, parks and churches, and a 100-foot buffer in residential zones.

Murphy thinks the new ordinance is far too restrictive and rather unfair to the operators and the people they service.

Criminal Defense Attorney Jessica McElfresh said it is clear that dispensary business is changing.

She represents several people who want to obtain a permit under the new law.

The approval process, however, is taking months.

In her view, the city’s ordinance is less than ideal, but she says some regulation is better than no regulation at all.

As for Murphy now, and the people who come to his collective, the days of buying medicine here are about to go up in smoke.

Between 2009 and 2014, the city’s code enforcement unit has cracked down on hundreds of dispensaries.

There were 369 cases to be exact involving dispensary closings. As of now, the review process for new permits is proceeding slowly.

Although the city began accepting applications back in April, Wednesday was the first time a hearing was held for one of the new dispensary applicants.

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