City of Lemon Grove Preparing for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Open

After Measure V narrowly passed in November, the city is preparing to lift a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.

A third city in San Diego County is preparing to open the door to medical marijuana businesses. 

Lemon Grove residents approved Measure V in November by a close margin. The measure repeals an existing city ban on marijuana businesses. 

The City Manager for Lemon Grove, Lydia Romero, told NBC 7, in the city’s zoning code if a use is not listed within the code, then the use is not allowed. Since medical marijuana dispensaries were not listed in the code, “that is how the City kept dispensaries out of the City,” according to Romero. 

In 2012, voters rejected two measures on the ballot that would have allowed medical marijuana operations in the city. 

In November, Measure V passed by 90 votes, according to the Registrar of Voters certified election results, narrowly passing the “over 50%” requirement to repeal the ban.

Read the full text of Measure V here.

According to Romero, the Measure V results were certified on December 20th, giving the city 90 days to figure out the approval process for “medical marijuana retail outlet permits”. 

“No applications nor any permits will be issued before the March 20th date,” Romero said in an email to NBC 7. “Any retail outlets that open before it is approved by the City will be considered illegal and both the property owner and business owner will be subject to code enforcement action.” 

According to the text behind Measure V, these businesses will require a Conditional Use Permit and will be “limited to opening only in Heavy Commercial, Limited Commercial, General Commercial and Light Commercial Zones. Residential and Multi-Use.” 

Romero said Lemon Grove staff were still working to properly identify allowable locations in the city and any areas that may be considered “sensitive,” where shops would be prohibited due to nearby retail outlets or malls. 

According to how Measure V was written, the measure would allow medical marijuana dispensaries, if permitted, to “grow, process and dispense marijuana to a ‘qualified patient’ or ‘primary caregiver’ on the premises.” 

At first, Romero told NBC 7 that commercial cultivation of medical marijuana was not allowed under Measure V. 

After NBC 7 referred to the writing of Measure V, stating dispensaries were permitted to grow and process marijuana, the City Manager said the city is still deciphering the approved measure. 

Lemon Grove joins the cities of San Diego and La Mesa as the only cities in San Diego County to pass measures that legally allow marijuana for medicinal use to be sold. 

The City of San Diego has been accepting dispensary applications since 2014 and according to the city’s communications department, 15 locations have been legally permitted to operate as of November 14, 2016. 

To see a list of approved medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego, click here.

The City of La Mesa is planning to start accepting applications for both dispensaries and cultivation sites on January 12th, according to Community Development Director Carol Dick. 

Dick told NBC 7 the City of La Mesa’s Planning Department is still working on a map that will show applicants where dispensaries are permitted and prohibited within the city limits.

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