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San Diego Medical Marijuana Permit Applications Start Thursday

Thursday is the first day that people who want to run a marijuana dispensary in San Diego can apply for a conditional-use permit.

The City Council gave approved to a set of zoning regulations that would allow up to four collectives to legally exist in eight of nine city council districts.

The restrictions on distances between dispensaries and houses, schools, churches and the like preclude any from being in council President Todd Gloria's district, which includes downtown, Hillcrest and North Park.

Until the city starts issuing the conditional-use permits, all collectives in the city are considered illegal. The mayor's office said the permit process could cost $100,000 and take six months to one year.

The city is investigating complaints against 57 dispensaries, according to the mayor's office.

The conditional-use permit would be good for five years. Collectives operators also will need to get an public safety permit annually from the San Diego Police Department.

By city ordinance, collectives may not be within 1,000 feet of public parks, churches, child care centers, playgrounds, residential care facilities, schools and other dispensaries, and not be within 100 feet of residential zones. Dispensaries also are barred from having on-site medical professionals -- a law intended to prevent such businesses from becoming "one-stop shops."

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