City Council Votes to Repeal Medical Marijuana Consumer Cooperatives Land Use Ordinance

San DIego City HallBy: Terrie Best, San Diego Americans for Safe Access

In the afternoon session of today’s San Diego City Council Meeting, The Council voted 7 to 1 to repeal the restrictive zoning ordinance which, if allowed to pass would have identified zones for medical marijuana collectives to exist but at the same time relegated them to far flung industrial areas and forcing a closure while collectives relocated and embarked on a strenuous processing procedure to re-open in those zones.

City Council’s repeal of the ordinance was forced by a referendum funded by the PCA, a local group of collective operators who advocate for regulations but had issue with the initial closure and tough processing procedure to re-open. The referendum provided two choices to the Council repeal the ordinance or put it on the ballot.

This afternoon council voted for the 2nd and final time to repeal without resorting to a ballot vote.

In response to public comment and as the single nay vote, Marti Emerald, who had exhibited leadership on this issue, convening a Medical Marijuana Task Force last year, rejected ideas that there was political will on the Council to continue to push forward for another ordinance.

Ms. Emerald’s nay vote reflected her position that the issue of the ordinance belongs on the ballot, an endeavor which, if it had passed, would have cost the City upwards of eight-hundred thousand dollars.

Ms. Emerald also suggested mediation between all the interested parties and identified The National Conflict Resolution Center as a possible candidate to help mediate.

San Diego Americans for Safe Access, Vice Chair, Marcus Boyd has made preliminary contact with the NCRC in effort to begin that process.

Although today the City Council ratified the repeal of the restrictive ordinance, the repeal closed off lawful zones in which to relocate. In other words, before the ordinance passed, there were no zones; when the ordinance passed it created zones; and since the passage of the referendum there are again no zones and safe access is in serious jeopardy.

As early as last week the City Attorney’s office filed lawsuits against twelve dispensaries in the city pledging to continue litigation in waves until all dispensaries were shuttered.

The collectives who funded the referendum were planning on following up the repeal with their own voter initiative that would create more reasonable regulations than what the City had originally passed. As of yet, no initiative has been circulated for signatures. The PCA instead is trying to lobbying Council members to enact a resolution temporarily staying code enforcement and the lawsuits filed by the City Attorney.

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