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San Diego Supervisors Approve Regulations For Medical Marijuana Collectives

Audio

Aired 6/23/10

San Diego County Supervisors approved an ordinance to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries that makes it difficult to site a dispensary in the unincorporated area.

— San Diego County Supervisors have approved an ordinance to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries that makes it difficult to site a dispensary in the unincorporated area.

During a two-hour hearing, both supporters and opponents of medicinal marijuana dispensaries expressed concerns about the ordinance.

County staff told the board at least 20 industrial sites will be available for dispensaries under the new law.

But Kate Valentine of Americans for Safe Access said she’d checked every site.

“Virtually all of them are either undeveloped land, cement factories, mining operations, even land that’s zoned for treatment of radioactive materials,” Valentine told the board, “There’s no buildings, no potential for dispensaries on these.”

Dispensaries will also have to pay a $20,000 processing fee to cover the costs of monitoring by the Sheriff’s department.

Supervisor Greg Cox acknowledged there may be very few medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas under the new ordinance, but he said that shouldn’t be a problem.

“For the people that are medical marijuana users,” Cox said, “if there not sufficiency medical marijuana distributors in the county area, there are still other options available to you, because there are still 18 other cities that are dealing with this issue.”

Supervisor Diane Jacob said many of those who testified at the hearing live in the cities, not in unincorporated areas of San Diego.

Jacob amended the staff proposal and extended the distance a dispensary must be from schools or residential areas from 500 feet to 1,000 feet.

Supervisor Pam Slater Price voted for the amended ordinance. She advised patients who may have to drive long distances to get their medical marijuana in the city, to refrain from taking it until they get home, for the sake of the safety of those on the roads.

Supervisor Ron Roberts was the lone dissenter. He said he has friends who have cancer and use medicinal marijuana to relieve pain.

“I am concerned” Roberts said, “especially with the modified motion, that we are reducing the sites down to next to none, and in the spirit of the law, in my view, that’s not complying with the law.”

San Diego County Supervisors tried unsuccessfully to appeal the state law, passed by California voters in 1996, that legalizes medicinal marijuana.

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