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San Diego Moves To Close Pot Dispensaries Near Schools

The San Diego City Attorney's Office filed civil complaints Wednesday, seeking to close 12 medical marijuana dispensaries near schools.

City zoning rules required the shops to be at least 600 feet from schools, among other things, but medical marijuana advocates, who believe the rules are too restrictive, responded by gathering enough voter signatures to compel the City Council to rescind the ordinance.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said that left the city operating under existing law, which banned medical marijuana sales citywide.

"We have an untenable situation right now and a lot of policy conflicts,'' he said.

"Marijuana distribution is illegal under federal law,'' Goldsmith said.

"If the federal government enforces its laws, there can be serious consequences to dispensaries and the owners of their buildings. Yet, medicinal marijuana is legal under state law under certain circumstances. In the city of San Diego, dispensaries aren't permitted in any zone.''

Goldsmith said the situation "cries out'' for ultimate policy direction from the state and federal governments that cities can rely upon.

He said the targeted dispensaries were putting children "at great risk.''

They are:

-- Trichomes R Us, Healing Arts Cooperative and Medical Miracle Collective, all at 4009 Park Blvd.;

-- Ocean Beach Wellness at 4851 Newport Ave.;

-- Absolute Collective at 2801 Fourth Ave.;

-- Redwood Collective at 1516 W. Redwood St.;

-- Herbameds at 4724-4760 Federal Blvd.;

-- Allgreen at 3740 Fifth Ave.;

-- Oasis Herbal Center at 3441 University Ave.;

-- West Coast Wellness at 6956 El Cajon Blvd.;

-- Medimart Collective, at 6787 El Cajon Blvd.; and

-- Green Hope Collective at 5971 El Cajon Blvd.

Goldsmith said he chose civil injunctions instead of criminal complaints, because judges will then have leeway to craft an interim measure that would enable law enforcement authorities to close "troublesome'' dispensaries, while respecting laws regarding safe access to medical marijuana.

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