San Diego City Council sends medipot issue to committee

Cal Pot News

A divided San Diego City Council debated medical marijuana storefronts yesterday and ultimately could not agree on whether it will draft an ordinance to regulate the dispensaries.

As reported here by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the council voted 7-1 to refer the issue of how and where the businesses should operate to one of its committees.
In doing so, the council removed language calling for an ordinance to be drafted. The council also called for input from neighborhood planning committees — a coalition of which is seeking a ban on dispensaries. Councilman Carl DeMaio voted against sending the matter to committee, saying state laws are adequate.

Cities across the state have struggled to regulate medical marijuana since California voters approved its use in 1996. More than 100 cities have banned dispensaries and dozens of others have passed ordinances to regulate the collectives.

A San Diego citizen task force suggested regulations about issues including hours and security. Proponents of such regulations on the council argued it’s important to provide clear local rules to protect patients who have a legitimate right to medical marijuana. Although Californians approved the use of medical marijuana with Proposition 215, the law and subsequent guidelines have been unclear on what is legal, Councilwoman Donna Frye said.

“The idea is to be as specific and simple and understandable as possible so people intending to comply with the law know what is expected of them and it’s not open to someone’s interpretation,” Frye said, as dozens of members of the audience applauded.

Others on the council raised concerns about the growing number of stores selling marijuana, they believe illegally. “While some say this tightens the regulation of marijuana, I say this does the opposite,” DeMaio said. “I believe it gives license, waters down regulation and opens the door for more dispensaries throughout our city.”