San Diego

City Council Delays Step Toward Legal Marijuana Sales in Chula Vista

A major step toward legalizing recreational marijuana sales in Chula Vista was put on hold Tuesday.

City Councilmembers delayed a vote on a draft ordinance that would approve recreational sales in the city.

Councilmembers plan to amend the two-phase application process to make sure applicants have a proposed location in the first phase. They will also relax proposed regulations that required potential dispensary owners to have operated a liquor or drug store for three years, or a lawful pot shop for one year.

Prospective dispensary owner Daniel Green’s chances will increase significantly if the City Council chooses to relax those regulations.

“To have had to run a lawful cannabis business for one year pretty much disqualifies everyone that's self-contained in the city,” Daniel said.

If approved, the ordinance would allow for a total of two storefronts and one delivery service in each of the city's four districts.

Resident Carol Green raised her children in the city. She's concerned about zoning regulations keeping storefronts at least 150 feet away from homes, 600 feet away from parks and youth-oriented businesses, and 1,000 feet from daycares or schools.

“Any time you advertise and commercialize a product, you send the message it's safe and harmless,” Carol said. “When we see it normalized, we see younger and younger people try it. The results can be devastating.”

Councilmembers plan to vote on the amended draft ordinance Feb. 20. If passed, it won't go into effect unless voters approve a June ballot measure to tax recreational cannabis up to 15 percent.

If those two dominoes fall, licenses aren’t expected to be issued until January.

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