Friday, October 29, 2010

Community Planners say No De-Facto Ban - Let the communities decide!

Community groups seek input on pot dispensaries
By Jen Lebron Kuhney

The location of medical marijuana dispensaries should be left up to individual communities rather than have to follow blanket rules set out by the San Diego City Council, according to the city’s community planning groups.

At their monthly meeting Tuesday, the groups, comprised of citizens from across the city, voted to make an official recommendation to the council to allow community groups to decide restrictions for medical marijuana shops in their areas.

The City Council is mulling a plan that would allow dispensaries in select industrial and commercial zones that have no residential uses. They would also have to be at least 1,000 feet from other dispensaries, parks, youth centers, religious institutions, day care centers and schools.

Americans for Safe Access San Diego chapter coordinator Eugene Davidovich said the city is placing a de facto ban on dispensaries due to the stringent nature of the restrictions.

“It doesn’t allow for facilities near patients,” Davidovich said. “Folks who need their medicine to function would have to find other ways to get their medicine and could go to the black market.”

If the current rules were approved, areas such as Ocean Beach, La Jolla and Hillcrest would be completely zoned out, despite their planning group representatives saying they are open to having strictly regulated dispensaries in their neighborhoods.

Joe LaCava, the president of the La Jolla Planning Association, said there are already about a half dozen dispensaries in his neighborhood, and they have been good neighbors.

The City Council does not have plans to bring up the issue of zoning medical marijuana shops before the new council is in place in December.

San Diego Americans for Safe Access

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