Ed Bedford 11:44 p.m., June 19
Tonight, Medical Marijuana activists will meet in Lemon Grove to urge the city council to either enact an ordinance allowing dispensaries to operate in Lemon Grove or pay to place the item on the November ballot.
The issue first was discussed at a July 17 hearing. During that hearing, the council asked staff to prepare a report which identifies the impacts of allowing dispensaries to operate.
There is no shortage of impacts in the report.
Staff had several concerns with the proposed initiative most of which dealt with zoning, necessary permitting process, sales tax, and, of course, a minor conflict with federal law.
The initiative, reads the report, fails to take into account that Lemon Grove is mostly zoned for mixed-use purposes, which would allow residential development as well as commercial, meaning it would be difficult to find non-residential areas for dispensaries to open.
Another issue raised in the impact report is charging a sales tax on medical marijuana purchases. According to Lemon Grove's City Attorney, the City is prohibited from placing a special tax on medical marijuana because it would impose a higher sales tax rate than the state currently allows. And then there's the conflict with federal law. According to the report, staff members sought advice from the federal government yet did not hear back.
Regardless of the impacts, advocacy groups are urging supporters to attend the meeting.
"This could be a really positive meeting - that results in good initiatives that allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Lemon Grove on the November ballot, but only if the City Council sees that our supporters outnumber our detractors. Just by being there, you can help the cause," read a notification from advocacy groups Citizens For Patients Rights and the Compassionate Use and Regulation Initiative.
*The meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Lemon Grove Community Center -- 3146 School Lane *