Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 2016
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Note: Seldom prints LTEs from outside it's circulation area.
Author: J. Harry Jones


The Escondido and Poway city councils adopted rule changes this week 
designed to ensure that medical marijuana dispensaries and the 
cultivation of marijuana for such purposes won't be allowed in their 

Both cities already had regulations banning dispensaries, but decided 
they needed to tighten those ordinances because of legislation passed 
in Sacramento late last year that established new rules for medical marijuana.

The legislation allows the state to license dispensaries in cities 
that don't have laws that expressly prohibit them. Cities that don't 
have rules in place by March 1 will be subject to the state guidelines.

In order to maintain local control, several cities in the county and 
across the state that don't want dispensaries have been rushing to 
amend their regulations.

Escondido and Poway are among that group.

In many cities, law enforcement authorities have discouraged allowing 
dispensaries, saying that they can become magnets for crime, 
including illegal drug sales nearby, robberies, driving under the 
influence of drugs, and misuse of medical marijuana by people looking 
to smoke it only for recreational purposes.

Members of the Escondido and Poway councils said in separate meetings 
this week that they realized marijuana can be beneficial to certain 
types of patients, such as those looking for pain relief from cancer 
treatments and glaucoma. But they said those people can obtain 
medical pot by going to dispensaries elsewhere in the county.

"Clearly the concern is that medical marijuana serves more than just 
the medical needy," Poway Councilman John Mullin said at the 
council's Tuesday night meeting. "I hate to be in the position of 
having any of our land-use authority usurped by the state, which was 
about to happen here had we not acted.

"As to those that actually are in medical need, we don't have 
furniture stores in Poway either, but if you need a couch you can 
find one," he said. "I suspect they can also, if they have a 
legitimate legal need, satisfy that need."

Both councils adopted the rule changes unanimously.

However, Escondido Councilwoman Olga Diaz made a point to say that 
the rules should continue to be examined so that those citizens in 
great need of medical marijuana can get it.

"I know people who are very sick feel this gives them some relief," 
she said Wednesday. "Some of them are terminal. And who am I to tell 
them they can't have this and who am I to make it harder for them to 
get it? I would like for us to figure out a way to humanely allow a 
dual licensing system that does service those ill people."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom