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North County Cities Grappling With Marijuana Regulations

Customers buy products at a medical marijuana dispensary, April 20, 2016.

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Customers buy products at a medical marijuana dispensary, April 20, 2016.

Two North County cities hold final public workshops Thursday night on how to regulate marijuana.

Encinitas and Oceanside have been holding meetings for months on how to react to the legalization of recreational marijuana next year. California voters passed Proposition 64 last November, but individual cities can still develop their own rules and regulations.

The City of San Diego has already approved regulations for recreational marijuana cultivation and sale, but North County cities still oppose most growing, testing and selling of marijuana locally, even medicinal marijuana.

The Vista City Council agreed in June to direct staff to look into locating two dispensaries. But this week, they backtracked and requested staff for information on delivery-only-dispensaries and quality control labs.

Vista will wait until next year before adopting new regulations.

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said dozens of people show up to speak for and against marijuana businesses at every city council meeting, and she has had to cut public comment from three minutes to two. Residents’ attitudes to marijuana are complex, she said.

“Sixty-five percent of the people in Encinitas who voted in the last election voted to legalize recreational marijuana,” she said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that they want a storefront in their downtown.”

Oceanside’s Medicinal Marijuana Ad Hoc committee and Encinitas' “Adult use of Marijuana” Sub Committee meet at 7 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. The subcommittees will produce recommendations for their full city councils in October or November.

Meanwhile, pot advocates are collecting signatures for local citizens initiatives in 2018 in several cities, including Vista, Oceanside and Carlsbad. The Association of Cannabis Professionals did not respond to inquiries regarding campaigns.

Two North County cities hold final public workshops Thursday night on how to regulate marijuana, which becomes legal next year.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect recent actions this week in Vista.

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