Tuesday, January 5, 2010
A majority of San Diego City Council is not ready to ask city staff to draft a medical marijuana ordinance.
Several councilmembers were reluctant to say they “accept” the recommendations of the Medical Marijuana Task Force. They voted 7-to-1 to refer the report for further review.
Councilman Carl DeMaio was the lone dissenter.
“Some say this tightens regulations on medical marijuana,” DeMaio said. "I actually say the opposite. I believe it gives license, it waters down regulation and it opens the door for more dispensaries throughout our city.”
DeMaio said the best thing to do is enforce existing State laws.
Councilwomen Donna Frye disagreed. “The State Attorney General guidelines are not very clear and not very specific,” she said. “The idea is to be as specific and clear as possible so that when people attempt to comply with the law that was voted on many, many years ago, they know what is expected of them and it’s not open to someone’s interpretation.”
The recommendations include prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools or playgrounds.
Councilwoman Marti Emerald argued that other cities around the region are looking to the city of San Diego to come up with an effective ordinance
“There are folks who think this is all about opening this up to anybody who wants to hang a shingle and sell reefer on neighborhood corners,” Emerald said. “That’s not what this is about. We have to create a program that projects neighborhoods, protect patients, and create a program where there are no questions whatsoever about what’s allowed and what’s not allowed in the city of San Diego.”
Marti Emerald and Todd Gloria want city staff to work on an ordinance, but other council members said more work is needed
The task force recommendations will go before local planning groups, and get input from city staff before returning to the Land Use and Housing Commission in March.