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New Marijuana Dispensary Rules In Front Of Mayor, City Council

A draft law regulating medical marijuana establishments in the city of San Diego is now in the hands of Mayor Bob Filner and members of the City Council, a spokesman for the City Attorney said today.

The proposal builds on an ordinance passed two years ago. Medical marijuana advocates considered the zoning law component too restrictive, however, and collected enough petition signatures to get it rescinded.

The consequence was that dispensaries became illegal again, and more than 100 were closed.


Allowing some to open legally has been one of Filner's top priorities, and municipal enforcement actions have all but ceased since he became mayor in December.

The state Supreme Court recently ruled that municipal governments — cities and counties — can ban pot shops outright, if they conform to state law regarding medical marijuana or not. In response, the Orange County city of Garden Grove ordered all medical marijuana dispensaries to close by noon today.

After Filner's election, the San Diego City Council directed the City Attorney to redraft a medical marijuana ordinance based on the repealed one.

The council also asked the mayor resume enforcement of current law.

As of Friday, no new enforcement actions from Neighborhood Code Compliance Department nor San Diego Police had been referred for prosecution, according to the City Attorney's Office.


The newly drafted ordinance, which will be presented to community groups for vetting before it's brought before the City Council, would allow dispensaries to operate legally for five years under a conditional use permit.

A 100-foot buffer would be required between dispensaries and residential zones. It also forbid pot shops within 1,000 of public parks, playgrounds, child care centers, schools, churches, municipal libraries, residential care facilities and other pot shops.

The proposal also calls for indoor and outdoor lighting, security measures and places restrictions on signs.

Hours would be limited from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Vending machines that dispense marijuana would not be allowed.