City Council approves rules for marijuana dispensaries

Salvador Rivera, Fox 5 San Diego

San Diego’s city council has cleared the way for medical marijuana dispensaries to operate legally in San Diego. It has given its final approval to an ordinance that will place a lot of restrictions on the dispensaries.

They won’t be allowed within a thousand feet of schools, parks, churches and can’t operate in residential neighborhoods. Only 36 total within city limits, four per council district, but none in Council President Todd Gloria’s district three because it is zoned residential. And dispensaries won’t be allowed to have doctors on hand who can write “recommendations” as a way to prevent dispensaries from becoming one stop shops.

“We’re saying that we’ll have limited numbers in specific areas, seems like a good balance,” said Gloria who has been working on this issue with fellow Councilmember Marti Emerald for five years.

For medical marijuana advocates, this is a good compromise and a good first step.

“It’s definitely a good start in order to assure permanent safe access in the city of San Diego,” said Heidi Whitman of Americans for Safe Access.

It’s also considered as a good foundation should marijuana ever become legal in California.

“We now have rules and regulations in place in our city to make sure neighborhoods are respected, it’s not close to homes and other sensitive receptors, we laid the foundation to make sure our city is protected going forward… I think it’s a good thing,” said Gloria.

All marijuana dispensaries will have to get permits from the city and the police department, which can be revoked if operators are creating a negative environment and/or generating crime where they operate.