Will San Diego’s Restrictions on Medical Marijuna Dispensaries Be Overturned?

by on June 24, 2011 · 14 comments

in Civil Rights, Health, Popular, San Diego

By John Langeler / FOX 5 San Diego / June 24, 2011

San Diego’s controversial restrictions on medical marijuana cooperatives could be reversed next week.

The San Diego County Registrar is expected to certify over 31,000 signatures collected by medical marijuana supporters that oppose the ordinance. That would force the city council to make a decision; end the ordinance and start over, or put it to the voters.

“This is an important issue,” explained San Diego Councilman David Alvarez, who opposed the March restrictions. “I thought we could get to a point where people would find some common ground. It’s a very heated issue.”

In March, City Council members approved an ordinance that limits medical marijuana dispensaries to light industrial and commercial areas at least 600 feet from schools and churches. Supporters said it was a way to control a problematic situation. Medical marijuana advocates called it far too restrictive and promised to fight back. The petition drive was their response.

“Get that out,” said Craig Barash of the California Cannibis Coalition, “Get something that will work for the city, the patients and the citizens and get something going here in the city.”

Most City Council members declined to speak about this issue Thursday afternoon, preferring to wait until early next week when the signatures are expected to be certified. Councilwoman Marti Emerald reiterated her support of the more restrictive ordinance, saying it is fair and provides a balance. She also suggested the people that gathered the signatures were out for their own business interests and not the patients’.

The main concern from city officials is what would happen if the council decided to put the issue to voters. A special election could cost $3 million. Alvarez supports rescinding the ordinance and starting over.

“We either should do it in a way that’s organized and that we as the city can regulate, or you’re going to have a rogue show,” said Alvarez.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Radical Uterus June 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I am tired of being held hostage by the fear and ignorance of my local, state and federal government. It is time for real change not this lipservice to change. Throw fear under the bus, and take a risk for freedom. The city of San Diego blatantly caters to a narrow margin of voters, and marginalizes others in an effort to keep their vision of San Diego alive. That vision is a fantasy.

The reality is this, people need medicine that is not going to kill their livers, kidneys and bowels. Cannabis is medicine. Stop punishing people for helping themselves while bypassing big pharma to do it.

Rant over. I return you to your regular programming.

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avatar OB Mercy June 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Wow, very eloquently put RU!!! Right on!

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avatar dave rice June 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm

“In March, City Council members approved an ordinance that limits medical marijuana dispensaries to light industrial and commercial areas at least 600 feet from schools and churches.”

Misrepresentation by under-reporting. I’m guilty of it too at times, having virtually no education and facing a steep learning curve as a journalist myself, but this statement is riddled with problems.

The 600-foot rule also applies to parks, rec centers, and, if I’m not mistaken, other dispensaries and a couple other ‘sensitive locations.’ Anyone who wants to do my homework for me and post up the official list, please do. This drastically reduces available space as compared to only applying the restrictions to “schools and churches.” This could lead a news consumer who supports dispensaries with limits to mistakenly adopt a positive view of the law that’s been so widely panned by safe access advocates.

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avatar dave rice June 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Also, there’s the issue of finding a landlord in one of the few ‘acceptable’ zones willing to work with a dispensary. My wife is one of the most liberal-minded commercial/industrial landlords out there, but because of the state/federal law conflict her clients won’t let her consider applications from marijuana storefronts for fear of punishment from the feds.

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avatar Radical Uterus June 25, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Last year the City of La Mesa threatened East County Co-op’s landlord with federal seizure. Joe, a veteran, closed his Co-op. I was sorry to lose a place where I could go to receive support services as well as medicine so close to my home. I was excited about his plans. They had Yoga classes, exercise equipment, and grow classes, as well as other plans to help people with their needs.
To relegate cannabis providers to industrial areas pidgeon-holes all cannabis patients into an illigetimate drug culture that simply is not the reality.

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avatar Shane Finneran June 26, 2011 at 5:55 am

Excellent points, Dave and RU — thanks for shedding more light on this.

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avatar mr.rick June 25, 2011 at 8:09 pm

California had their chance in last novembers election to put this matter to rest but everyone, or mostly, were concerned about the President’s birth certificate and death panels. Until we can figure out a way to cut through the clutter we will have to put up with this kind of BS.

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avatar Radical Uterus June 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Well said Mr Rick.

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avatar Citizen Cane June 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I don’t like the restrictions, and I especially don’t like religous laws. I don’t think a church should get favorable treatment over other businesses, like a Chuck E Cheese restaurant or a Mcdonalds with playground equipment. Religious laws also have a nasty habit of cutting both ways….the new law prevents all churches from operating a dispensary for their congregations. That doesn’t sound like freedom of religion to me.

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avatar Radical Uterus June 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Wow, never thought of that possibility. Imagine, church and medicine.

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avatar ss June 26, 2011 at 9:15 am

when will the powers that be learn Pot is not going away. The regulations that may be applied are ridiculous. All they will do is raise the price of the medicine and put it back in the hands of criminals and cartels. Will any one who uses it now stop using Not likely.

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avatar Naomi June 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I put together maps with the following zones in blue. Per the municipal code collectives MUST be located within these zones : CC-2-3, IL-3-1, IS-1-1 (note that in the maps there is a typo in the legend, where “IS-1-1” is incorrectly listed as “ST-1-1” I will fix this in next version) The following zones are also approved for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, but were apparently drafted in 2006 and never implemented (do not exist): CR-2-1, CC-2-1, CC-2-2. View maps at: http://34n118w.net/Maps

Included in orange are 600 foot buffers for the facilities protected by San Diego Municipal Code 306122. I have added: existing dispensaries, youth related facilities, and places of worship to all maps, if they are near approved zones. In the next update, the buffers for all sensitive facilities will measure out from parcel boundaries instead of from a point. In other words the buffers will be bigger than you see on the current maps. A general map with “ALL” areas of the City of San Diego shows an overview; other maps are close-ups of areas that include approved zones. Undeveloped approved zones are not shown in any of the close-up maps; only parcels with potential to be useful for dispensary operation are shown in close up. I will add satellite views to these close ups so that you will be able to see the buildings and so on in an alternate view.

Please forward this email to anyone who can use the info. I will continue to develop this map as changes occur. If you have updated information on zoning, on the exact location of existing sensitive facilities, on criteria for sensitive facilities, or other pertinent information, please let me know so I can continue to improve the accuracy of these maps. If you need maps for a specific purpose (i.e., another location, higher resolution, etc.) let me know and I will try to accommodate requests. You can download and use these maps for informational purposes without charge (see info on map regarding use and reproduction).

Naomi Spellman
GIS Specialist
San Diego

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avatar Radical Uterus June 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Thank you Naomi. I look forward to studying the San Diego map.

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avatar doug June 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm

WHY?WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY,SHOULD YOU HAVE TO GO TO A POT OUTLET STORE?DO YOU HAVE TO GO DOWN SOME DARK ALLEY IN A SEEDY PART OF TOWN TO BUY BEER?????DO YOU HAVE TO GO TO A STREET CORNER TO…..SPSSSSSSS WANT TO BUY A BOTTLE OF WINE?LEGALIZE IT, TAX IT, SELL IT OUT OF LIQUOR STORES OR PHARMACIES AND BE DONE WITH IT.WE ARE ALL ADULTS RIGHT!IF YOU CAN’T MAKE YOUR OWN MIND UP…WELL STICK TO MILK.

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