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San Diego City Embarks On Regulations For Medicinal Marijuana Dispensaries

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San Diego City Council has voted to start developing land use regulations that would define where medicinal marijuana dispensaries can legally operate.

— San Diego City Council has voted to start developing land use regulations that would define where medicinal marijuana dispensaries can legally operate. Councilman Carl DeMaio was the lone dissenting vote.

The land use regulations proposed by the city’s Marijuana Task Force were made tougher, so that medical marijuana dispensaries can only operate in certain light commercial zones and have to be 1,000 feet away from schools, churches, playgrounds, libraries and parks.

Currently, more than 100 dispensaries operate in the city. Kate Valentine of Americans for Safe Access calculates the proposed zoning would only allow about 15 dispensaries.

"They want standards, they want certainty, they want regulations," she said, " but by making the regulations too restrictive, progress on this issue will grind to a halt."

Councilman Todd Gloria says the proposal is a compromise forged to get enough council votes to move ahead.

"Politics is the act of what’s possible," Gloria said, "and what we had to do was craft a series of rules that would provide patients with safe access while responding to the concerns of some of those in the community who feel that some of the locations are inappropriate."

The council was asked to add universities and colleges to the list of places which need a 1,000-foot buffer zone, but did not approve that addition.

City staff will now work on ordinances to regulate the location and operation of dispensaries and return to the council for a vote next spring.

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