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Along with Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach, and Santee, Oceanside has a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, which could stand until May 2011.

On Wednesday evening, Oceanside’s city council will address the issue of medi-pot dispensaries and decide on a response to the San Diego Grand Jury report on regulating pot shops.

In a response to San Diego Superior Court Judge Kevin Enright, Oceanside officials indicated that the city is debating whether to take its name off the list of cities that enacted moratoriums on dispensaries and join El Cajon, Escondido, San Marcos, and Vista in an all-out ban on the dispensaries.

As for the grand jury's recommendation to adopt cost-neutral zoning and land-use regulations, the letter stated that city officials are waiting for a court case in Anaheim to unfold. They might be holding their breath for a while. On August 18, an appeals court sent the case, which targets a city ordinance making operating a dispensary a misdemeanor, back to a lower court for additional hearings.

The letter, dated August 26 and signed by Mayor Jim Wood, also stated that the North County city of 180,000 residents is "evaluating all regulatory approaches, including a complete ban on dispensaries," an approach that will undoubtedly stoke the fire on the medical-marijuana debate and possibly result in a harsh hit to proponents of medi-pot.

As to the grand jury's recommendation that the moratorium enacted by the five cities in San Diego County douses any hopes for qualified patients to fill their marijuana prescriptions, city staff responded that there is "no evidence...that any qualified patient has been deprived access."

The city council will take the issue up at their joint meeting of the Community Development Commission.

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