Just a few hours ago – Monday, July 25, 2011 – members of San Diego City Council voted to repeal regulations they approved just four months ago relating to medical marijuana dispensaries. Council members were forced to either repeal the rules or put the question to voters after a coalition of medical marijuana advocates submitted enough signatures to qualify a referendum.
Technically, medical marijuana collectives within San Diego are illegal – the question is whether or not the Council will take action against them, shutting them down.
At the spring meeting heavy debate led to an approval for a comprehensive set of rules, the upshot of which would be the forced closure of 160 dispensaries while they applied and waited for operating permits. Needless to say there was a chorus of disapproval from cooperative owners and mmj patients. In contrast, detractors of legalized medical marijuana believed anything less than an outright ban was not stringent enough.
At Monday’s debate there was agreement between the opposing parties and both urged Council to just repeal the restrictions without waiting for an election. The previously approved regulations cited a 600-foot buffer zone between collectives, as well as between collectives and:
- child care and youth facilities
More than 46,000 signatures were submitted to the city by Citizens for Patients Rights, a coalition of medical marijuana patients and their providers. All that was needed for the repeal was a sufficient number of signatures; the city clerk verified those had been achieved and the council was forced to make the decision. The repeal could take effect or be put to ballot within the next year.