City of San Diego Seeks to Regulate Medical Marijuana Collectives

March 24, 2011

Dorian Hargrove, San Diego Reader

On Monday, March 28, nearly two years after the San Diego city council created the Medical Marijuana Task Force, they will decide whether to include medical marijuana collectives in the city's Land Development Code and become the first city in the county to establish regulations for collectives.

If approved, collectives will be limited to industrial zones and a few commercial zones. The collectives will need to be further than 1000 feet from parks, child-care facilities, churches, schools, playgrounds, and other collectives. In addition, the packaging must have the name of the patient, name and address of the cooperative, and if it's a food source, the origin of the product.

While San Diego may become the first city in the county to have a medical marijuana ordinance on the books, critics say the restrictions are too harsh.

In response, advocates are asking the council to open up all commercial and industrial zones and amend the 1000-foot buffer to the 600 feet required by state law.

In February, advocacy groups Americans for Safe Access and Canvass for a Cause launched the Stop the Ban Campaign, asking supporters of safe access to write letters to city councilmembers urging them to ease the restrictions. So far, says campaign senior organizer Ben Cisneros, 3700 letters have been sent.

Cisneros says a map included in the meeting's agenda packet shows a dozen or so zones in the city where collectives will be allowed, one of them is at Miramar Airfield and another is Qualcomm Stadium.

"More troubling is that the map doesn't include churches or youth facilities. So, the council and residents will be shown a totally inaccurate map. Realistically, with these restrictions, I'd be surprised if there are seven storefronts citywide."

Cisneros says there will be a rally outside the federal courthouse before Monday’s 2 p.m. council meeting.

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