Tuesday, November 3, 2009

San Diego Marijuana Taask Force Meeting News

Marijuana Task Force Update: Keeping collectives at a safe distance

BY Landon Bright
Monday, 02 November 2009 18:17

Last Friday, the city of San Diego Medical Marijuana Task Force held its
second-to-last meeting for the calendar year. The meeting focused on
what the permitting process should be for dispensaries and how far
collectives and cooperatives should be kept away from schools and each

Alex Kreit, chair of the committee, said the main recommendation to come
out of last week's meeting had to do with conditional use permits.
Like the vast majority of other cities and counties in the state, the
task force recommended that the city require dispensaries go through the
conditional use permitting process. Smaller dispensaries would be
reviewed using the Process 2 level, while larger dispensaries would be
reviewed at the Process 3 level. Like the permitting processes imposed
for other uses of real estate, the processes, ranging from 1-5, are
classified based upon how rigorous the review is.

The task force also addressed where the dispensaries can be located in
regards to schools and each other. They recommended that dispensaries be
located at least 1,000 ft. from schools, and dispensaries no closer than
500 ft. from each other. Both distances are similar to what other cities
and counties are currently using.

Last week's meeting also featured a presentation by former mayoral
candidate Steve Francis, who put together a poll measuring San Diegans
feelings towards medical marijuana and how it's supplied. Overall,
the poll showed wide support for medical marijuana use, as long as
it's tightly regulated.

"I think that it shows what I've sensed to be the feeling in San
Diego, that San Diegans don't want to see collectives and
cooperatives banned," said Kreit. "The vast majority think
it's incredibly important that patients have safe access to their
medicine, like they would to any other medicine. San Diegans realize
there needs to be a legal method of access and that the method is
collectives. I think there is also vast support that they need to be
regulated. The poll seems to confirm what the task force has been

The final agenda for this week's meeting has not been released yet.
But Kreit says the meeting will center on zoning issues--determining
which zones will provide for marijuana dispensaries as an allowable use
(presumably with a permit).

"I doubt we will get into a level of detail because the city has a
fairly detailed zoning list. I suspect it will be along the lines of a
general recommendation of the types of zones we will think are
appropriate, " he said.

One interesting aspect that the task force is looking into has to deal
with the nonprofit angle. The group is looking into having some kind of
process where dispensaries would have to provide evidence that they plan
to act as a non-profit. A recent crackdown by County DA Bonnie Dumanis
brought up questions about whether local dispensaries were making a
profit, something they are not supposed to be doing.

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