? The Star-News | Chula Vista Star News

use comma(,) if mutliple email addresses i.e(friend@domain.com, friend2@domain.com)

Dispensaries prompt dialogue Allison K. Sampite | Sat, May 21 2011 12:00 PM

Marijuana isn't just for stoners. It's for medical patients too.

The topic of medicinal marijuana dispensaries in the state of California has been one of great debate regarding its regulation.

Medical marijuana dispensaries provide for the safe access and sale of marijuana to patients who have a written recommendation for its use by a licensed physician.

Opponents say there are legal and safety challenges in adjusting to the "boom" of medical marijuana storefronts.

The Chula Vista Public Safety Subcommittee, comprised of council members Steve Castaneda and Patricia Aguilar, held a meeting Wednesday to discuss medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

On June 21, 2009, the Chula Vista City Council enacted the Interim Urgency Ordinance establishing a moratorium, which expires June 21.

City Attorney Glen Googins said it is within City Council authority not to permit medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. "But there is a basis for the city to regulate some kind of operation..."

Googins said there's a lack of clear guidance from the state. "You're damned if you do and damned if you don't," he said.

But medical marijuana patients say it doesn't have to be that way.

Longtime medicinal marijuana advocate and Chula Vista resident Daniel Green says it's simple: regulate it, tax it and bring money back into the city. "Taxing marijuana will help the city's strapped budget," he said. "It's a win-win."

Green is a medical marijuana patient who approached the City Council about opening a cooperative in the city to allow for safe and legal access of medical for patients, but was rejected in 2009.

Googins said the decision is defensible either way as long as the city proceeds with great caution.

Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano said the discussion of medical marijuana dispensaries is a complex, sensitive issue. "On the public safety side we believe we shouldn't have medical marijuana dispensaries," he said.

Chula Vista Police Captain Gary Ficacci said the lack of clear guidance leaves cops "in the lurch" over the issue.

Prop. 215 was passed by a majority of California voters in 1996 and allows for "seriously ill" Californians to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes. It is known as the Compassionate Use Act.

Senate Bill 420 was passed in 2004 and is the first formal attempt to implement Prop. 215 through the California legislature and Medical Marijuana Program Act.

Spring Valley resident Vey Linville is a board member on the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access and disagrees strongly with many of the police findings.

Linville was diagnosed with primary pulmonary lung failure and was dying. At some point he joined a collective and used marijuana. "I don't need a transplant anymore," he said. "This is about healthcare."

Another 33-year-old Chula Vista resident and homeowner said he began having seizures a few years ago and after drugs from the hospital didn't work, he tried cannabis. "It's not a gateway drug," he said. "It treats my condition."

One Chula Vista mother of three said she is against "lining the streets with dispensaries" because it gives kids the message that smoking pot is OK.

Another man representing a group for people against substance abuse said that Prop. 215 voters didn't vote for marijuana dispensaries. "Money and drugs is a prescription for crime," he said.

Castaneda asked Green how he would regulate the dispensaries if the city allowed their business. "Jerry Brown wrote guidelines (for marijuana to be grown for medical use) when he was the attorney general - he's the governor now, follow them," he said. "Any questions?"

There will be another meeting on this topic before the moratorium expires June 21.

Rate This Article 1 vote(s)
Average Vote 5/5
Leave Comment

(will not be published)


The Star-News | 296 3rd Ave., Chula Vista, CA 91910 | Phone: 619-427-3000 | Fax: 619-426-6346 | info@thestarnews.com| Site Feedback| Corporate