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The Ocean Beach Planning Board held a special meeting on March 16 to take commentary on a proposed ordinance pertaining to medical marijuana dispensaries within San Diego’s city limits. The meeting drew a crowd of 35 to 40 community members.

The proposal comes before the city council on March 28. At issue were numerous clauses in the final ordinance language widely seen as more restrictive than the suggestions put forth by the Medical Marijuana Task Force.

Examples of greater restriction included a “buffer zone” of 1000 feet between any dispensary and a sensitive site such as a school or playground (the task force recommended 500 feet) and exclusion of several commercial zoning designations that the task force recommended be allowed. Two members of the since-disbanded task force were in attendance.

Eugene Davidovich, a local resident and representative of Americans for Safe Access (an advocacy group for patients), felt that the restrictions being proposed would exclude collectives from virtually all areas in the city: “This ordinance before you tonight is a de facto ban,” said Davidovich.

The one dissenting voice represented Second Chance Ministries in Ocean Beach. The representative made clear that his organization’s support of the ordinance was part of a broader dissent against marijuana use in general. He noted the points of his argument: “It’s called dope for a reason, dope doesn’t make people smart.... Drugs make a punk of a hero.... You can’t negotiate with terrorists.”

The planning board voted 6-1 to oppose the ordinance and recommended instead that the city council follow the recommendations of the task force.

The board agreed with the ordinance language that stipulated doctors giving medical cannabis recommendations should not be allowed at the same site as a dispensary; also, dispensaries should be subject to community input similar to that gathered before an alcohol license is issued.

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