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By: Eugene Davidovich, San Diego Americans for Safe Access
On July 1, 2011, Mother Earth’s Alternative Healing Cooperative Inc. received their final permit the “Medical Marijuana Collective Operations Certificate”, signed by Sheriff Gore himself, allowing the coop to operate in full compliance with the law.
Located at 8157 Wing Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92020, the grand opening will be held on Monday, July 4th to commemorate Independence Day and the coop’s regular hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday, 10am-8pm.
“We are very excited about providing safe, reliable access to patients in San Diego who suffer from seriously ill and in many cases debilitating conditions” said Bob Reidel, official spokesperson for the coop.
The ordinance regulating the coop was adopted by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors (BOS) over a year ago, and allows dispensaries to open only if they are located in an industrial zone, 1,000 feet away from the most comprehensive laundry list of sensitive uses ever created in the history of our County’s zoning regulations. The list includes: parks, churches, residences, schools, libraries, youth service facilities and other dispensaries, etc.
On June 23, 2010, the day the ordinance passed, patients and advocates were convinced it would ultimately result in no access in the County. Several land-use experts commissioned by San Diego ASA examined the zoning restrictions and came to the same conclusion; it would be at least a year until a permitted collective would emerge and the chance of a complete ban and no access were high if not inevitable.
A year later, through perseverance, dedication and support of the community, patients have overcome the bureaucratic hurdles setup by the BOS and have come into full compliance with the new stringent requirements.
Situated in a 15,000 square foot commercial building in an industrial zone next to Gillespie Air Field, the coop includes a dispensing center with privacy booths where members receive consultations about their cannabis therapy from licensed pharmaceutical technicians and an onsite state of the art testing facility, where all medicine prior to being dispensed to patients goes through gas chromatography, mold and pesticide testing.
While some of the medicine will come from a small on-site grow, the majority, as required by law, will be cultivated by members at their homes and may go through an inspection by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
“Now, in San Diego County, we have safe, secure access, as well as additional protections for patients, especially those who cultivate their own medicine” said Bob Reidel. “At the end of the day, we want patients to stop fearing the police and to know that they can call 911 just like any other citizen.”
Aside from creating a safe place for patients to obtain their medicine the coop will be politically active in the community and is now the new home of East San Diego ASA monthly chapter meetings.
First Permitted Medical Marijuana Coop to Open in San Diego County Unincorporated Area