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SD Planning Commission to tackle sticky pot-collective issues

City council to weigh in next...then state Coastal Commission

For years, medical marijuana patients and dispensary owners have been forced to occupy a netherworld, often operating in retail spaces in nondescript buildings throughout the city. State law allows dispensaries and their patients to be free from prosecution; federal law does not. Making it even more difficult, the City of San Diego has dragged its feet on establishing an ordinance that would allow collectives to operate.

Now, the city seems to be making some progress toward establishing an ordinance, thus determining where shops can open.

On December 5, the San Diego Planning Commission will discuss whether the city council should give final, clear guidelines on what constitutes a medical marijuana consumer collective and how they can operate. In addition, the commission will hear alternatives on where collectives can be located and what level of approval applicants must obtain.

"The amendments would define a medical marijuana consumer cooperative, and establish a process by which medical marijuana consumer cooperatives could be permitted," reads a November 19 public notice.

"The amendments would also establish the zones in which they would be allowed, as well as distance requirements from specified uses and other medical marijuana consumer cooperatives. The amendment is subject to City Council approval."

Patients and collective owners shouldn't hold their breath while waiting for a new ordinance; a revised set of guidelines is months away from being adopted. First, after the planning commission provides their recommendation, the item will head to the city council for approval or direction on any changes. Amendments to the municipal code will extend to the "local coastal program" as well, which means the California Coastal Commission will need to certify any land-use amendments.

"As such, the final decision on the amendments to the Medical Marijuana Consumer Cooperative Ordinance within the Coastal Zone and associated Local Coastal Program amendment will be with the California Coastal Commission. The City of San Diego must submit the amendments to the Municipal Code as an amendment for certification to the California Coastal Commission. The ordinance will not be effective within the Coastal Overlay Zone until the Coastal Commission unconditionally certifies the amendment."

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For years, medical marijuana patients and dispensary owners have been forced to occupy a netherworld, often operating in retail spaces in nondescript buildings throughout the city. State law allows dispensaries and their patients to be free from prosecution; federal law does not. Making it even more difficult, the City of San Diego has dragged its feet on establishing an ordinance that would allow collectives to operate.

Now, the city seems to be making some progress toward establishing an ordinance, thus determining where shops can open.

On December 5, the San Diego Planning Commission will discuss whether the city council should give final, clear guidelines on what constitutes a medical marijuana consumer collective and how they can operate. In addition, the commission will hear alternatives on where collectives can be located and what level of approval applicants must obtain.

"The amendments would define a medical marijuana consumer cooperative, and establish a process by which medical marijuana consumer cooperatives could be permitted," reads a November 19 public notice.

"The amendments would also establish the zones in which they would be allowed, as well as distance requirements from specified uses and other medical marijuana consumer cooperatives. The amendment is subject to City Council approval."

Patients and collective owners shouldn't hold their breath while waiting for a new ordinance; a revised set of guidelines is months away from being adopted. First, after the planning commission provides their recommendation, the item will head to the city council for approval or direction on any changes. Amendments to the municipal code will extend to the "local coastal program" as well, which means the California Coastal Commission will need to certify any land-use amendments.

"As such, the final decision on the amendments to the Medical Marijuana Consumer Cooperative Ordinance within the Coastal Zone and associated Local Coastal Program amendment will be with the California Coastal Commission. The City of San Diego must submit the amendments to the Municipal Code as an amendment for certification to the California Coastal Commission. The ordinance will not be effective within the Coastal Overlay Zone until the Coastal Commission unconditionally certifies the amendment."

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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