The Star-News


Council delivers medical pot outlets lethal blow

Sat, Sep 17 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampite

The Chula Vista City Council on Tuesday approved prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries in the city by adding a chapter to the city's code.

The Public Safety Subcommittee, comprised of Chula Vista Councilwoman Patricia Aguilar and Councilman Steve Castaneda, in July recommended prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries but allowing for conventional patient/caregiver distribution to continue along with medical marijuana delivery service within the city.

At two Public Safety Subcommittee meetings, the majority of speakers made statements in support of having some form of city-approval process for medical marijuana distribution operations and gave personal testimonies about the benefits of medical marijuana as well as the importance of local access.

Chula Vista resident and medical marijuana advocate Daniel Green spoke against passing the ordinance Tuesday.

"...You guys are going beyond just saying no, you're saying, 'since I don't like this, nobody should be allowed to have this,'" he said. "Show some compassion. This is an issue of human decency - this has become way too political."

Those opposed to medical marijuana businesses expressed concerns about the negative impacts on public safety, neighborhoods and children.

Aguilar took issue with a change in language with regard to the resolution's definition of "dispensary."

"In the resolution that the council passed to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries, it was defined as a storefront and commercial operations but in this definition it's being defined more broadly," she said.

Deputy City Attorney Chance Hawkins said that in terms of enforcement of the ordinance, there would be challenges if the definition wasn't as broad as possible because people would use the loophole to exploit the issue.

Additional items for future council consideration include a permit process and system for monitoring medical marijuana delivery services, further study of medical marijuana collective and cooperative models that comply with attorney general guidelines and address other city and staff public safety, land use and legal concerns.

In other City Council news, members of the city's Charter Review Commission, which was tasked in June to find out whether the city should change from its at-large elections to district elections, asked the council for money to conduct public outreach.

The requested $1,500 was to come from the city's $600,000 election fund and be used for the design, implementation and maintenance of a website that provides information to the public regarding council-elected alternatives.

The commission created an ad hoc committee to find out if a majority of residents are in favor of changing the method used to elect city officials.

Aguilar said her concern is with the source of the money coming from the city clerk's election fund.

"It just seems to me that surely within the City Attorney's Office or the supplies budget there must be money we can use for this."

The council voted to continue this item to the Sept. 20 agenda, pending further research and information from city staff on where the money will come from.


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