By Benjie Cooper
YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog
Cannabis is legal in California for medicinal and recreational use, but the laws regarding the plant’s production, distribution, and sale differ from city to city and can range from the implementation of full licensing programs to complete bans on marijuana businesses.
Since the passing of Prop 64, residents in places such as Lemon Grove have voted to license local dispensaries while councils in cities like Vista have opted to keep them illegal and maintain the status quo.
But after a council vote on March 28, Oceanside became the next city in San Diego County to move forward with medicinal cannabis legislation, though end-user services will be limited for the time being.
In a four-hour public meeting held Wednesday, March 28, the Oceanside City Council voted 4-1 to approve a revised edition of an ordinance that will permit marijuana cultivation, testing, and delivery services in the city. The measure does not include any taxes on goods or services.
Residents from Oceanside and other cities on both sides of the issue spoke to the council for two hours before a vote was taken. Some pleaded with them to do something quickly to help relieve the suffering of the residents that use medical cannabis.
And while the council did ultimately decide to allow medicinal cannabis delivery services to operate in the city, they also voted to not allow dispensaries in Oceanside for the moment.
The issue of brick-and-mortar cannabis dispensaries is being put on hold until Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy can take enough time to examine the safety impact that they might have on the community. It is estimated that the study will take between twelve and eighteen months to complete.
“Part of the problem is there’s not enough legal dispensaries currently in existence for the police department to adequately evaluate the impacts,” said Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss in an interview with KPBS. “And the police department recommendation was the city wait on moving forward on opening any type of dispensaries in order to give time to evaluate the concerns and problems other cities may be having—or may not be having—in regard to those dispensaries.”
For licensed cultivators, 20% of Oceanside’s 3,400 acres of farmland will be allotted for growing marijuana, with 22,000 square feet available per parcel.
Authors of the ordinance write that their recommendations would “ensure that the agricultural character of South Morro Hills is preserved, a balance of agricultural uses is maintained, and would minimize conflicts with the ongoing agritourism effort.”
After having gained a passing vote from the council, the ordinance will have a second reading and vote at a meeting on April 11. If passed, the measure will go into effect in thirty days on May 11.
Following a successful second vote, the city will take the next three to four months to create a fee structure that they say will fund the program before any licenses or permits are granted.