San Diego City Council To Decide Again On Medical Marijuana Ordinance
February 19, 2014 1:23 p.m.
Alex Kreit, former chair of the city's Medical Marijuana Task Force and professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Eric Naslund, Chair of the San Diego Planning Commission which voted in favor of the proposed ordinance.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Our top story on Midday Edition, next week the San Diego city Council will decide on a new proposed ordinance, outlining rules and regulations for the medical marijuana dispensaries. There have been no regulations for dispensaries in San Diego for the last three years, effectively making all their local people marijuana facilities illegal, there are several questions the Council will decide in addition to zoning rules council members may decide whether they will move forward on the idea of taxing dispensaries. Joining me to the discussed the new ordinance are my guests, Alex pride and Eric Davlin. And Bob Riddell. Welcome to the program. Thank you for coming in. This ordinance allows medical marijuana's dispensaries be located areas premixed up the city, but the rules are strict and that the court's, we would get dispensaries be able to operate?
ALEX KREIT: The two dispensaries will be able to operate most this script districts, although they would be allowed to the operating district 3 which is the central part of the city, it's hard to know exactly how many there would be in total, the city did that analysis to say that maximum number possible, assuming that every single parcel would be available to be rented for dispensaries, it's difficult to say, I think the key thing is to be some allowed but in the most central part of the city in the downtown you wouldn't see anything. Because that the mix of the commercial and residential the city that because of the mix of commercial reservation of the city?
ALEX KREIT: Yes, there's a restriction on zones that people can operate in and distances that you can be from certain sensitive use schools and the like.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Is this similar to the ordinance the city that in 2011?
ALEX KREIT: Yes it's very similar but even a little more restricted than that, task force that I shared a few years back made recommendations to the city that medical marijuana dispensaries be allowed in industrial zones along with other recommendations, the city itself will task ordinance 2011 based on what we recommended, but much more restrictive as far as location, they rescinded that after there was some concern, what is on the cable table now is a little more restrictive than what they had 2011.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: One more question about that, how is it more restrictive? Zoning regulations and distances from schools and other things like that, in other words it makes it harder to located dispensary?
ALEX KREIT: Yes exactly, they added in a couple of additional restrictions for distance of up of 600 feet up to 1000 feet, under foot buffer from residential zones, basically a handful of additional disincentive location restrictions.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And you reviewed the plan and heard public comment before the ordinance, give us an idea of what you've heard from those who support the ordinance.
ERIC NASLUND: One of those would be worth of them are Terry and view of things, this maybe the government should not be as involved in the something, and another line that was really about fair and compassionate access and whether that could or could not happen, we have a lot of things to suggest that if you believe got a feel with what the warden said and you really look that was available out there, and would be likely to be available, you're effectively severely constraining access and that was a concern for people who needed it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You will end up hearing from more people who oppose dispensaries, what do they have the say?
ERIC NASLUND: The opponent groups seem to be focused on what they see to be potential impacts to sensitive uses and places where they would live, or in particular for the focus on children, there was quite a bit of concern about that and the sense that the ordinance was making a medicinal gateway to a recreational use. In the impact of that.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Go in spite of the opposition, what they counsel approved the ordinance? Commissioner?
ERIC NASLUND: I cannot speak for the commission, but we had an inherent conflict in our move legislative world, we have mineral or one a illegal substance and from a recreational perspective, but we also as voters in California we voted and by referendum the ability to get it from medicinal purposes, that conflict Plato with the testimony taken to us, and I feel that if somebody really did need it with any of testimony to say that they did, we did not want to create a de facto cannot it, who wanted that compassionate use for it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Alex, you have it relation this ordinance that at how many of dispensaries that could be, is there a limit on On how many dispensaries Achilles that he go?
ALEX KREIT: Now, and if the city of attorney's office about whether it be safe to legal to That, and the advised that it would be permissible, but the court ordinance. Ordinance does not have a numerical limit, as far as just a straight number, just by definition the fact that this is a restrictive ordinances hardware people could locate, that would certainly itself the limit, the estimate was absolute maximum in theory that there could be in this ordinance goes 131 city wide, that is wildly larger than what you'd actually see, because again that estimate is making a bunch of assistance such as that would not be true the real world, for example every parcel of land would be went out for dispensary, that is obviously not the case.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Alex, former mayor Filner pushed a new dispensary ordinance and he asked to go one that the city councils look at now, he started talking about it, he wanted the city to tax the sale of medicinal where what I come and you think that they counsel will push for that?
ALEX KREIT: I think there is interest, that would not be surprised that there was interest for attacks on the city council, because of California's law but new taxes that you really need to put any tax on this before the voters, city Council could not adopt any tax on its own because the statewide rule that limits the adoption of new taxes without water approved without voter approval.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Bob, you read the dispenser that was license of the San Diego County's policy but I was initially shut down by US attorney in 2012, do you think that an ordinance in the city of San Diego would allow you and other dispensaries operate?
BOB RIEDEL: Yes we believe that even though it's a restrictive ordinance, we have to start somewhere and that is with the county did, was an opportunity for cooperative to open, yes we did get caught up with what happened to the city with the referendum and the Attorney General, which scared our landlord, but with clear guidelines, we're really talking about a study increase of cooperatives and locations, we're talking about a decrease because there's a lot of unlicensed operators today.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Because the county has a policy but if they're just not dispensaries is about right?
BOB RIEDEL: Yes that is correct, we were the only ones that were open and we were building 12 actually received a license and yet no one has opened, there were 140 locations in the county the city is proposing hundred and twenty locations, so I small handful were actually be able to open up. It will give a starting point and show people that we are good neighbors to have and that is that the city is looking at.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: To be clear the county had a pet policy in your operating the operating legally under that policy, the US attorney came in and said no one is illegal under federal law and they told your landlord that if they did that you out, they would compensate his property, is that right?
BOB RIEDEL: That is obsolete correction absolutely correct. Accordingly larger question, what if the city does actually about this ordinance, what stops the US attorney from coming in and shutting down the dispensaries in the city of San Diego?
ALEX KREIT: Legally there is a possibility but there have been some changes but first of all we have legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington in the fall the Attorney General issued a new memo of rising US attorneys not to suspend resources to interfere with those are operating in compliance with state marijuana and medical wire water laws, the listed some factors that US afforded attorney said look at, one of those factors is is there robust local state regulations, the city ordinance in San Diego could be the kind of robust regulation envisioned that memo, and if you looking Colorado there are stores right now open if operating in selling marijuana for you recreational purposes, they've been doing so since the start of this year and none have been shutdown yet by the federal government, that is a sign that perhaps the federal government's approach to this issue changing.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We have a caller on the line, Jim is calling from San Diego, welcome to the program.
NEW SPEAKER: Thank you, and to reject this ordinance and the city planning group chair for various clean groups all over the city, this ordinance does not allow this establishment to operate, because they are selling for profit, there's nothing that requires a not profit to operate,[[ inaudible to consider allowing these, the specific the operating legally, landlord saving $50,000 a month, showing a profit that is how bad the system. And I go to stop that from happening.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me ask Alex, dispensaries that will accept money for handing out this old marijuana, is there anything intricacy intrinsically illegal and that aspect of these operations?
ALEX KREIT: Now, dispensaries cannot operate for profit, that is correct, and California law pictures of that and anyone operating for profit is open for prosecution. The prosecution attorney has been very aggressive for going after folks even people who arguably are off reading in a not-for-profit basis, there was a recent appeals court decision that stated point blank, you can sell marijuana for resale, and data so that the reality of state law, they understand that there are some folks that are part of what is against prop 24 to 14, but the reality is the majority of Californians in the majority of San Diegans recognize that people have a regimented legitimate need for marijuana, and people should be of the get it without the problems that we're talking about as far as lack of regulation, that is to pass the city ordinance, but make sure that there's regulation, anyone who operates with have to abide by the we restrictions, and it you operated without a license you'd be at target for getting shut down and prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: By last question, my last question, what have you been sharing from councilmembers about whether or not they were supported?
BOB RIEDEL: The number one thing on the Council agenda is to protect a broad, what they are seeing is the proliferation of unlicensed co-op unlicensed co-ops throughout the city of San Diego and their concern is reasonable numbers for weasel access, so they're very receptive of this, if you go to our website you can learn more about this, and read it for yourself, but will we do have is in the city like I said a proliferation of unlicensed cooperatives that are unregulated not paying taxes, and what we need today is some sensible answers.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Have you been counting votes? Do you have enough votes?
BOB RIEDEL: We're pushing a soft five but we'll see.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay thank you all very much.