One day after Dustin Vogel went to Chula Vista city hall and submitted an application to open a medical marijuana collective (where patients go to purchase marijuana from growers at no profit to the business), an employee from the city’s planning department contacted him with news that his application had been declined. With no clear explanation for the denial, Vogel waited to hear more from the City.
Three weeks later, Vogel said the Chula Vista city attorney’s office contacted him with an explanation of why his business license was refused. “One of their lawyers said [the City] is going to use a city code that prohibits them from issuing licenses to businesses that violate federal law,” wrote Vogel in a July 15 email.
“This is the same logic that was used in San Diego vs. NORML, which the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed all of two months ago,” added Vogel, a lifelong resident of Chula Vista. “We're baffled that the City seemingly wants to waste time and resources on an issue that has already been decided, especially when they have had to fire staff and institute work furloughs.”
According to city attorney Bart Miesfeld, at the July 21 city council meeting, councilmembers will consider imposing a 45-day moratorium on new medical marijuana cooperatives opening within city limits. “It’s an interesting issue right now,” says Miesfeld. “Some people are trying to figure out the status of the law and what each jurisdiction wants to do with it.”
“Our politicians are interested in it, and because of the Compassionate Use Act [Proposition 215] and the will of the people, it is something we want to look at closely,” adds the city attorney. “I think [the Chula Vista City Council is] as eager as I am to do some research and figure out the state of the law and what the people would like to do.”
If passed, Chula Vista will join other cities throughout San Diego County that prohibit new medical marijuana dispensaries from opening. Last month, the City of Oceanside placed a ten-month ban on marijuana dispensaries, and a few weeks later the Escondido City Council passed a 45-day moratorium.
“We're organizing support right now,” writes Vogel. “We would love for the City to collect our tax dollars, so we are quite upset at the way they have approached this.”