San Marcos Bans Businesses from Distributing Medical Marijuana

February 16, 2006

, Associated Press

San Marcos became the first city in San Diego County to ban businesses from distributing medical marijuana.

The ordinance tentatively approved Tuesday by the San Marcos City Council allows the only medical marijuana dispensary in the city north of San Diego to remain open if it follows all applicable laws.

But what those laws are remains unclear. Federal law bans marijuana, but in 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, which legalized marijuana for medical purposes. San Diego County has defied the state-ordered program and filed a legal challenge to the voter-approved law.

San Marcos' lone marijuana dispensary is owned by Legal Ease Inc., which said it only sells the drug to people with valid prescriptions from doctors.

In December, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raided the business along with 12 others in San Diego after undercover agents said they were able to buy marijuana without a prescription. The DEA said Legal Ease remains under investigation.

Statewide, 49 cities have prevented new medical marijuana dispensaries from opening, 15 cities have banned them and 24 cities have established regulations for dispensaries, according to the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.

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