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Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., Nov. 17
It's been a big week for advocates of medical marijuana.
First, Imperial Beach city councilmembers voted in favor of placing an initiative on the November ballot which, if approved, could open the door for medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in Imperial Beach. Then yesterday, representatives from Mother Earth Cooperative, the only legal dispensary in Southern California, clashed with U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in her attempts to put an end to medical cannabis.
The buzz surrounding the issue is far from over. In November, voters in at least six cities in San Diego County may be asked whether to allow marijuana dispensaries to open in their city.
Tomorrow, city councilmembers in Solana Beach will consider placing the issue on the ballot. In coming weeks, elected officials in La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Encinitas and Del Mar consider similar initiatives.
However, as supporters continue to push for legal dispensaries, opponents are asking that councilmembers consider all of the negative impacts that could arise as a result of proliferation of dispensaries.
They point to a study conducted in Del Mar which questions the viability of such ordinances. One problem: cities would be forced to charge a much higher sales tax on medical marijuana than on other items. Doing so, reads the study "would require Board of Equalization to cease collecting all sales taxes" in each of the cities.
That's not all. The study also claims that legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries could jeopardize city employees by making them accomplices in the distribution of an illegal substance.