San Diego County Board of Supervisors to Discuss $11,000 Fee for Marijuana Dispensaries

January 22, 2011

Dorian Hargrove, San Diego Reader

On Tuesday, January 25, San Diego County's board of supervisors will discuss an ordinance that would require marijuana dispensaries to pay the county $11,017 a year, the sheriff's alleged cost to regulate the facilities. The annual fee, according to county staff, will cover the cost of issuing operational permits, investigating applicants, and for inspections after shops have opened.

If approved, the ordinance will allow the county to collect fingerprints from those looking to open dispensaries and establish more regulations for off-site deliveries.

But for advocates of medical marijuana, the fees and added regulations are more examples of the county supervisors’ tendency to thwart the distribution of the drug.

“Whether it is $11,000 or $100,000 is irrelevant,” writes Eugene Davidovich, coordinator for San Diego's chapter of Americans for Safe Access. He says the county supervisors already placed a “de facto ban” on dispensaries last year when they outlawed pot shops in unincorporated parts of San Diego County.

“Although the ordinance does not specifically say the words 'ban,’ the intent and outcome is such,” adds Davidovich in a January 24 email. “Not a single place has been able to obtain a permit to open in the county since the ordinance was adopted, mainly due to the fact that there are no properties where one could exist....

“The purpose of zoning regulations is to ensure that businesses in the county are located in appropriate areas. They should not be used as a tool to go around the will of the voters and enact a ban.”

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