City attorney Jan Goldsmith's January 27 talk about medical marijuana dispensaries in Grantville began with him referring to long-ago election results. He spoke to a capacity audience at the Allied Gardens-Grantville Community Council town hall.
The city attorney noted that Bill Clinton carried California the year voters approved Proposition 215, the 1996 Compassionate Use Act. Goldsmith said the medical-marijuana initiative received more votes than Clinton. Goldsmith then asked, "How many people like Proposition 13?" Several people raised their hands in favor of the 1978 property-tax proposition. “[Prop] 215 received more votes than [Prop] 13," said the city attorney.
He said marijuana is illegal under federal law, and the city attorney's office had worked with the U.S. attorney to close illegal dispensaries. That stopped "in 2012; [Bob] Filner was elected" mayor, said Goldsmith. In January 2013, Filner called for a halt to prosecuting dispensaries for zoning violations, saying he planned to present an ordinance to regulate dispensaries. Instead, Filner resigned that August due to a recall effort related to sexual harassment allegations.
Last February, the city council approved an ordinance allowing dispensaries in some industrial and commercial zones. A conditional-use permit is required, and dispensaries are prohibited within 100 feet of residential zoning and not within 1000 feet of child-care centers, playgrounds, schools, parks, residential care facilities, churches, or other dispensaries.
Goldsmith said "after the Filner year," his office has dealt with two types of dispensary operators: those applying for permits and "wildcats [who] open wherever they want."
During the process of shutting down dispensaries, Goldsmith said guns, convicted criminals, and contraband were found. "No matter whether you're pro or con, [dispensaries] need to be regulated."
He said sources of information about non-permitted dispensaries include the public and print advertising. Twice during his talk, Goldsmith said, "Thank you, Reader and CityBeat.” He said some operators of non-permitted dispensaries "play games” but prospective operators going through the permit process "help us."
On the community-council blog, president Anthony Wagner said Goldsmith would discuss "the proliferation of illegal marijuana dispensaries that have popped up in Grantville." A January 27 Channel 10 news report stated, "At least four illegal dispensaries have been shut down in the area near Rainier [Avenue] and Riverdale [Street] in Grantville."
At the meeting, a man asked why a non-permitted dispensary operator could apply for a permit. Goldsmith said it was "up to the council" to change that. John Pilch of the San Carlos Area Council said the city on January 20 chose not to regulate edibles, hash oil, and wax (concentrated cannabis). Pilch asked Goldsmith if a community planning group could impose conditions that weren't in the city ordinance, conditions such as a ban on those products. Goldsmith said he didn't know and would find out; he didn't want to "shoot from the hip" with an answer.
Navajo Community Planners, Inc., makes recommendations about Grantville. The planning group will vote February 11 on whether to recommend modifications that include changing industrial zoning around the Grantville trolley station to a mixture of commercial and residential use.
Following Goldsmith’s speech, San Diego Fire-Rescue captain Sean Murphy from Fire Station 31 in Del Cerro discussed dangers associated with people attempting to "get the maximum amount of THC" through the hash-oil extraction process, which involves butane.
When Murphy was done, most people stayed for a discussion about the unanticipated announcement that the Albertsons store on Waring Road would close on February 27.