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San Diego City Council Puts Medical Marijuana To A Vote

The Mother Earth Alternative Healing Cooperative was the last licensed medical marijuana co-op in San Diego County. It closed its doors in September 2012.

Above: The Mother Earth Alternative Healing Cooperative was the last licensed medical marijuana co-op in San Diego County. It closed its doors in September 2012.

The City Council will take another stab at establishing regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego Tuesday.

The panel has addressed the issue numerous times since California's Compassionate Use Act was approved by voters more than 17 years ago.

Zoning and operating guidelines passed in 2011 were rescinded after medical marijuana advocates collected enough signatures to force council reconsideration.

The advocates considered the 2011 regulations too restrictive, but taking them off the books had the effect of making all dispensaries within city limits illegal. Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said the restrictions in the plan to be considered Tuesday are even tighter.

"Cooperatives must be separated from public parks, churches, child care centers, playgrounds, residential care facilities, schools and other cooperatives by a distance of a thousand feet,'' Gloria said at a recent briefing. "Cooperatives must apply for a conditional use permit with a five-year expiration.''

The proposal also calls for a 100-foot buffer from residential zones and would prohibit having on-site medical professionals, to prevent dispensaries from becoming "one-stop shops,'' Gloria said.

He estimated that, based on digital mapping by the San Diego Association of Governments, around 30 dispensaries would be allowed in San Diego. Most would be in the major industrial zones of Kearny Mesa and Otay Mesa, but some would be in each council district in the city except his own -- which would have none.

As a city councilman, Gloria represents downtown, Hillcrest and North Park, which he said are mostly mixed-use commercial and residential neighborhoods.

He said the city's Planning Commission passed the proposed regulations, with one dissenting commissioner who thought they were too restrictive.

Medical marijuana advocates seem "more cognizant of reality'' than they were three years ago, according to the interim mayor. The City Council shot down looser restrictions proposed last year by former Mayor Bob Filner.

The proposed regulations are the result of subsequent council direction, and they went through public vetting during the fall.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 25, 2014 at 9:28 a.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

This is a joke.

It's going to mean people in vast areas of the city, including the urban core, will still not have access.

What doesn't the city council understand about SICK PEOPLE?

They are too unwell to go driving around for miles to get their damn medication.

Not everyone has someone that can go for them, either (I don't even know if you can do that with mm, can someone else pick up your medication)?

These regulations are a joke, they are a way for Gloria to have his cake and eat it too by claiming he is in favor of mm but at the same time having ZERO dispensaries in his district to appease the haters as well.

The people of California voted on this.

MM dispensaries should be allowed to operate anywhere a pharmacy can.

With all due respect, the city council can place this absurdly insufficient "proposal" somewhere dark and damp that the sun can't get to, and start over on something that will actually serve the community and allow those who are sick to get the medications they are entitled to under state law regardless of where they happen to live.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 25, 2014 at 9:32 a.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

This will mean the people gaming the system - those not so ill individuals willing to drive out to dark industrial parks to "conduct their business" will have all the weed they need, whereas the cancer and AIDS patients who need NEIGHBORHOOD DISPENSAIRES CLOSE BY will be at disadvantage.

Great job, council. Who came up with this nonsense?

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | February 25, 2014 at 10:29 a.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I would be very curious to see the breakdown of acutely ill people using this as medicine vs stoners gaming the system to score some herb. My bet is a 98:2 in favor of the stoners.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 25, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

sdreefer, a study like you suggest would yield the same results as a study that looks at how many people "game the system" to take prescription medications they don't need.

Do you want to shut all pharmacies down so the sick can't get medicine because some people game the system?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | February 25, 2014 at 12:58 p.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

You really think 98% of all medications given out at pharmacies are people gaming the system? That is absurd.

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Avatar for user 'Len'

Len | February 25, 2014 at 2:16 p.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

@JeanMarc. Peking Duck didn't say that 98% of medical marijuana users are gaming the system. SDReefer did. There surely are people getting marijuana under false medical premises, but probably not as many as you think, given the wide range of problems, physical and psychological, it can help, a list that is growing with research. To expand on PD's point: If, say, 50% of those using prescription medications were found not to really need them, would you advocate closing pharmacies, drastically reducing their number and/or placing them at a far distance from those who need medications? It's not as though marijuana were guns, or liquor or driver licenses, where those who obtained them extra-legally could pose a danger to themselves or others. (But let's not revive the horse of the dangers of marijuana. That horse, if not dead, has been given last rites.)

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | February 25, 2014 at 2:22 p.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Pay attention Len, Peking Duck is the one who said 98% of all pharmacy medications (non-marijuana) are fraudulent. See here:

"sdreefer, a study like you suggest would yield the same results as a study that looks at how many people "game the system" to take prescription medications they don't need."

This was in reference to sdreefer saying 98% of medical pot smokers are just dimwitted pot heads.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 25, 2014 at 2:55 p.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Jean, re-read the posts, I did NOT say 98% of all pharmacy medications are fraudulent. What I said is that if you were to look at both mm and non-mm pharmaceuticals, you would find similar instances of abuse.

You are assuming I agree with sdreefer's 98% figure which I don't, and never said I did.

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | February 25, 2014 at 3:49 p.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I have yet to meet an acute patient who needed marijuana. While there are a few examples of people it has helped the rest are just stoners looking to get high. Which I really think should be their choice. I am willing to bet that they do not disclose many of these chronic pain states, psych disorders. or whatever fake ailment they have to their insurance providers. MJ should be legal. But to call it's common use a medicine is silly. Its no different than getting drunk. I never referred to anyone as dimwitted. If you like to get stoned your a stoner.

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Avatar for user 'fuggetaboutit66'

fuggetaboutit66 | February 25, 2014 at 4:42 p.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

sdreefer21 - I'll do my best not to rip every one of your statements to pieces, at least not right now. I'd like to ask you a question first. In your last post (at 3:49pm today), you say right near the end of your statement, and I quote, "Its no different than getting drunk." so let's assume that you're right in that statement (just for the moment, at least), if its no different than getting drunk, do you propose placing these same restrictive prohibitions on the location of liquor stores and bars as the council proposes for dispensaries?

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | February 25, 2014 at 4:56 p.m. ― 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I really think it should be legalized. To me and i realize im probably in the minority on this site. Medical mj is a farse. 215 was not about getting stoned. It was about helping those who were on hospice, extremely ill, seriously debilitated etc. it has become anything but that. It is not the spirit of the law. Getting stoned and getting drunk are essentially the same thing substance use and or abuse depending on where u fit on the scale of usage. I really dont care where liqour stores or bars are. I frequent neither. Every single freind i have with a card has zero medical problems. They are all in rheir late 20's early 30's and they all say the just want to get stoned. I will always think of medical mj as an absolute joke.

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