Vista Inches Forward With Dispensary Regulations

By Benjie Cooper

IG: @nuglifenews

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The Vista City Council scheduled a discussion on medical marijuana regulation to take place during a meeting on April 25 but removed the item from the evening’s agenda only days prior. The public was allowed to come and speak on the topic near the end of the meeting, but no one turned in any speaker slips beforehand, so there was no public comment heard. All members of the council were present for the meeting except for Mayor Judy Ritter.

While the council did not have a discussion about licensing and regulating dispensaries, or on the proposal their staff drafted, they did introduce the idea of paying $25,000 to an outside, independent firm to conduct a survey of Vista residents to get a better idea of their feelings on the matter. Council member Joe Green spoke first and said he felt that they should move forward cautiously with such a “historic” issue. The rest of the council agreed, and thought that the cost of the survey was a small price to pay for a clearer picture of local sentiment.

Data from a variety other relevant polls and studies is readily available online and should be an indication of what a local survey will reveal. The council will get the numbers they want, but those numbers will only reinforce what many people already know. The social and political climate for marijuana in the United States has changed dramatically over the past two decades, notably when it comes to medical cannabis. Results of a nationwide telephone survey conducted by Yahoo/Marist were released in April and showed support for medical marijuana as high as 83% of respondents. In the first state that legalized medical cannabis, one can reasonably assume that the percentage of positive resident support shouldn’t be that much different.

There was no word about when the survey would begin or when the results might be available but, regardless of their personal feelings, the council does appear to be trying to move forward into a realm that is very new territory for them. While armed police raids have traditionally been their way of dealing with dispensaries, some efforts are being put forth by the city of Vista to determine how it might be able to perhaps work with local co-ops instead of against them. Regardless of how the council might decide to tax and regulate the businesses, dispensary owners desperately look forward the day when they are allowed to operate without fear of a police invasion. The next council meeting on the subject is expected to take place sometime in June.