San Diego

Oceanside City Council Votes No on Dispensaries, Yes on Other Commerce

Farmers will get an opportunity to grow cannabis, but those who use medical marijuana will have to buy it in other communities

The City of Oceanside has adopted new marijuana regulations that are far more restrictive than what residents may want.

At a Wednesday meeting the City Council voted against medical marijuana dispensaries, but in favor of the licensing of cultivation, testing and delivery services in its community.

The first reading of the cannabis ordinance that took a year to research and put together passed by a 4-1 vote, but it did not pass in its original form which most proponents thought would be a slam dunk.

Farmers will get an opportunity to grow cannabis, but those who use medical marijuana will have to buy it in other communities.

The majority of Oceanside, nearly 60 percent, voted in favor of medical marijuana sales, but that didn't include the Police and Fire departments which proved to be the downfall of council staff's original proposal.

“People do use medical marijuana. I am not opposed to that whatsoever, I just want things to be put in place the proper way and stepping over our police and fire, it puts all of us at risk,” Oceanside resident Dana Corso said.

What did pass put Oceanside in the medical marijuana business, but what many who came to the city council meeting Wednesday night want is safer, convenient, accessible dispensaries.

“Just to pass what they just passed right now is just same stuff, different day,” patient Deborah Bridge said. “It didn't help us at all.”

It was Mayor Peter Weis who suggested passing the original proposal without the suggested two dispensaries. That came after hearing from both sides of the medical marijuana debate.

"Please consider doing something to immediately relieve the suffering of a lot of people that could benefit from the drug."

Oceanside has 3,400 acres of agricultural land. This new proposal permits up to 22,000 square feet on each parcel to be used to grow cannabis.

Testing facilities and nurseries would also be permitted. For many of the more than 60 people that came to speak at the meeting, this may be a step in the right direction, but they say it doesn't go far enough.

"Wait to move forward until this subject is vetted and approved by our first responders."

"We should have the right to alternative medical treatment where there is substantial evidence of its effectiveness."

“The City must put public health and safety above the smoke and mirrors of the big marijuana business.

"To pretend to bring legalization to those in Oceanside while at the same time writing regulations that resemble nothing short of a chokehold on the industry will only serve the black market well."

"Thank you for considering an action that will go further than any other county or any other city in San Diego County on following the will of the people that want cultivation of medical cannabis in greenhouses.

The dispensary issue is tabled for now while Oceanside’s Police Chief promises to research the associated problems with dispensary sales in other communities and report back to council.

A second reading of this current proposal will go to a final vote at the next council meeting on April 11.

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