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Law enforcement agencies throughout San Diego County should open up a dialogue with medical marijuana dispensaries, revealed a June 9 report from the San Diego County Grand Jury.

The report was issued after "numerous" complaints, "more than on any other subject," billowed into the county's Grand Jury office from concerned county residents and perturbed patients about the operation of collectives in the county.

The complaints were not all that enticed the Grand Jury to join the medical marijuana melee. In recent months, two collective owners were acquitted in court after a September 2009 raid on 14 medical marijuana dispensaries by district attorney Bonnie Dumanis's office.

Monday's Grand Jury report not only urged the district attorney's office to roll out a welcome mat to dispensary owners and collective operators but also recommended that the police departments in Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Coronado, El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, National City, Oceanside, and San Diego establish some guidelines for coops and collectives and ensure that the rights of patients are respected.

The Grand Jury recommended that the County Board of Supervisors, which, in the years since voters approved the Compassionate Use Act in 1996, has filed high-level lawsuits against the state, "Enact an ordinance to establish a cost neutral program for the licensing, regulation, and monitoring of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives, and establish a limit on the number of such facilities."

In addition, the Grand Jury believed that many of the recommendations from San Diego's Medical Marijuana Task Force "serve as a model for adoption by other cities." In the meantime, however, the Grand Jury suggested that the City of San Diego establish a moratorium on new dispensaries, at least until the task force's recommendations are adopted.

The district attorney's office and sheriff's department are expected to respond to the recommendations in early July. The response from the County Board of Supervisors, Mayor Jerry Sanders, and city councils throughout the county will come in early September.

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