by: Ruarri Serpa
Oceanside CA– With all due respect, your medicine is not right for this city, Oceanside leaders told medical marijuana supporters at meeting on June 25.
In a 5-0 vote, the City Council rejected a proposal to allow dispensaries under the zoning ordinance, against a 3-2 recommendation by the Planning Commission.
“My concerns to allow dispensaries is that it’s not right for us,” Council member Esther Sanchez said. “Perhaps some other city will come up with regulations to reach those in need.”
“It is okay for you to discriminate against me because of my choice to survive?” said Vey Linville, of the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access.
Sanchez and Mayor Jim Wood said they have compassion for medical marijuana patients, but consider it on the same level as alcohol, which they have also tried to curtail in the city.
Other Council members cited increased crime around the dispensaries, and said that it promotes the wrong kind of behavior with teens.
“[The Police] are out there, saying that it leads to harder stuff,” said Council member Jack Feller.
“It’s inappropriate,” said Craig Balben of North County Prevention Coalition.
In 2013, Police Chief Frank McCoy said that 26 robberies involved illegal marijuana dispensaries in Oceanside. Under Oceanside’s zoning ordinance, only land uses that are explicitly listed are allowed to operate.
But to Frank Smith, a consultant who wants to build a marijuana production facility, crimes at illegal dispensaries happen because the dispensaries aren’t using procedures to prevent crime.
The logic: if a business isn’t supposed to be operating, they won’t go through expensive measures to prevent crime, when they could be shut down anyway.
But in their rejection of the amendment, the Council failed to deal with the issue of dispensaries attracting other crime. And to medical marijuana supporters, it’s not in dispensaries’ interests to try to prevent it.
“Whenever a dispensary tries to be good citizen, it’s always the first to be shut down,” said Linville.
Ruarri Serpa is a freelance reporter from Oceanside, CA. You can contact him directly at RuarriS@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: @Ruarris