|Photo: California Cannabis Coalition
|Members of California Cannabis Coalition and Patient Care Association celebrate after repeal of San Diego’s highly restrictive medical marijuana ordinance
On Monday, the San Diego City Council repealed an ordinance that would have forced almost all currently operating medical marijuana dispensaries in the city to close their doors.
If the ordinance had taken effect, only a couple of collectives would have been allowed to open after they came in compliance with with one of the most restrictive ordinances in the state and the most restrictive zoning and operational requirements imposed on any businesses in San Diego, according to the California Cannabis Coalition.
According to critics, the city council ignored its own task force in establishing the highly restrictive rules that would have severely limited the number of dispensaries. Medical marijuana activist Eugene Z. Davidovich, in fact, said the original ordinance effectively banned dispensaries from San Diego, reports Neiko Will at KPBS.
“That’s really all the community is asking for, is to find a compromise,” Davidovich said. “(What’s needed) is one that both patients and the community can live with. This ordinance, the way it’s written is not a compromise.”
The city council had on April 12 passed the ordinance, but before it took effect as law, medical marijuana advocates the Patient Care Association and the California Cannabis Coalition successfully gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance on next June’s ballot.
The signatures were submitted to the city clerk for verification, and on July 18 the community received confirmation that the signatures were vaslid.
The council heard 56 speakers at its Monday meeting. Because of the referendum, they had three choices:
1. Repeal the ordinance.
2. Send it to a general election which would cost $1 million.
3. Do nothing and a special election would be called at a cost of $3 million.
The council, faced with these choices, then repealed the highly restrictive ordinance which had taken two years of hearings and haggling (and, of course, ignoring their own task force) to come up with.
“This is a perfect example of what we can do as a community!” the California Cannabis Coalition said in a press release. “You made the difference San Diego!”
“The ban is over, but we still have lots of work ahead,” said Craig Beresh of the California Cannabis Coalition.
|Graphic: California Cannabis Coalition