New Rules Could Snuff Out Some Dispensaries

San Diego seeks new restrictive zoning laws for pot dispensaries.

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    BERKELEY, CA - MARCH 25: A one-ounce bag of medicinal marijuana is displayed at the Berkeley Patients Group March 25, 2010 in Berkeley, California. California Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified a ballot initiative late yesterday to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana in the State of California after proponents of the measure submitted over 690,000 signatures. The measure will appear on the November 2 general election ballot. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    The San Diego City Council directed the City Attorney's Office on Monday, to develop a zoning ordinance for the city's 125 medical marijuana dispensaries. 

    The ordinance is expected to be similar to one approved in June by the County's Board of Supervisors last June.

    The new zoning regulations would require medical marijuana dispensaries to be at least 1000 feet away from schools, churches, parks, playgrounds, libraries, child care centers, youth facilities, and other dispensaries.

    SD Explained: Medical Marijuana

    [DGO] SD Explained: Medical Marijuana
    Why are dispensaries being raided if medical marijuana is legal in California?

    All dispensaries would be required to be a non-profit and apply for a conditional use permit. The dispensaries would only be allowed in industrial and commercial zones, without any residents living nearby.

    This is only be the beginning of the process to create ordinances to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. The Medical Marijuana Task Force, established in 2009, made several recommendations to the Land Use and Housing Committee, including requiring collectives to have security guards present during operating hours, more lighting outside dispensaries, limited operating hours, and rules regulating the types of signs dispensaries can use.

    The city developed the Medical Marijuana Task Force to help city council create guidelines for medical marijuana patients, primary caregivers, marijuana cooperatives and collectives, and police enforcement.

    Once the ordinance is written, it will go to the Planning Commission and return to the City Council for a final vote.

    A statewide ballot measure to legalize marijuana in California has been backed by a group of former law enforcement officials. The group includes former or retired police officers, judges and prosecutors.

    They say keeping marijuana illegal props up drug cartels, and steers law enforcement away from more serious crimes.

    Voters will have the final say on Proposition 19 in November. If passed, adults would be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.