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Vista Voters Will See Three Marijuana-Related Initiatives This November

A jar containing dried cannabis flower sits on the shelf at Torrey Holistics ...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: A jar containing dried cannabis flower sits on the shelf at Torrey Holistics dispensary, Dec. 28, 2017.

Medical marijuana delivery and storefront businesses are illegal in Vista, but that could change soon.

A citizens' initiative that has already qualified for the ballot would allow for up to 11 storefronts. They would be required to pay a special tax. On Tuesday, the Vista City Council voted to put two additional marijuana-related initiatives before voters.

One dubbed the "Marijuana Business Initiative" would allow up to three delivery-only medical marijuana businesses, but no storefronts. The other would establish a tax on marijuana businesses, to help cover the cost of shutting down illegal operations.

“I’ve had numerous citizens complain to me when the illegal dispensaries have opened up in their neighborhoods," said Vista Deputy Mayor John Aguilera. "The fact that their kids have to walk by — their family and friends when they visit have to see that, and just the traffic that it generates and the people that hangout. They see kids across the street waiting to get hooked up or whatever. People don’t want to see that."

RELATED: Vista, Oceanside Wrestle With Ban On Medical Pot Dispensaries

Backers of the citizens' initiative argue marijuana brick-and-mortar locations would be easier and safer to regulate.

"You’re able to see where the sales are occurring — have security cameras and security on site," said Cody Campbell with Vistans for Safe Community Access. Campbell is also a former councilman in Vista. "It’s safer, both for the operator and it’s safer for the patients that are getting access to the product."

Campbell said allowing just three delivery services will drive more people to the black market.

"The question that voters are going to have to ask themselves is do we really want to have delivery services regulated by the city," Campbell said. "Roaming around the city not knowing where the sales are occurring, what they’re actually selling."

A citizens' initiative to allow medical marijuana storefront shops has already qualified for the ballot and Tuesday night the Vista City Council voted to put a competing marijuana business and tax initiative to voters in November.

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