Residents in Chula Vista urged the city council to toughen the punishment against medical marijuana dispensaries.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, residents voiced concerns over existing medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits.
In 2011, the city enacted a law banning all dispensaries due to fear of crime and disturbances. But several have opened and punishment is not tough enough to shut them down.
As it stands right now, fines are capped at $100,000 but violators continue to operate even after violations are issued, according to residents and City Attorney Glen Googins.
The City Attorney’s office can also file a civil lawsuit but it is proving to not be tough enough to shut the existing dispensaries down.
On Tuesday night, the Chula Vista City Council unanimously approved to amend the city code and make two changes. The first is removing the fine cap of $100,000; the second change is prosecuting violations as criminal misdemeanors instead of filing civil lawsuits.
Googins said the changes are an additional tool to help the city's fight in keeping dispensaries out.