February 26, 2014
San Diego Pot Shops Will Soon Be Open For Business

Residents of San Diego will soon have safe access to marijuana thanks to a recent vote by the San Diego city council allowing 32 pot shops to open within city limits.

San Diego Zoning Issues

The Los Angeles Times reports, "The plan will allow no more than four dispensaries in each council district. With one of nine districts already off-limits because of the density of its housing, that would allow a maximum of 32 dispensaries for a city of more than 1.3 million."

A plan allowing 131 dispensaries throughout the city limits of San Diego was presented to the city council after months of deliberation, according to a study by the San Diego Assn. of Governments. Councilwoman Lorie Zapf proposed an amendment limiting the number of dispensaries in each district to four. The amendment was accepted and the bill passed with an 8-1 vote reports The LA Times.

Pot shops will be generally limited to commercial and industrial areas. The following are some of the zoning rules San Diego marijuana dispensaries must follow under the new plan, reported by The LA Times, "dispensaries cannot be within 1,000 feet of schools, libraries, churches, parks, child-care facilities, and drug and alcohol rehab facilities. No marijuana vending machines will be allowed, and dispensaries cannot be close to residential areas."

Response To San Diego City Council Decision

As with any decision decided by a vote this decision is met with mixed response. Most of the response has been favorable, which is also expected with an 8-1 vote.

"This ordinance provides clear and fair rules which will result in access to medical marijuana for legitimate San Diego patients and safeguard neighborhoods from negative impacts associated with dispensaries," Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said in a statement reported by NBC San Diego.

According to KPBS Councilwoman Zapf said, "I think having a cap is fair for all council districts. It spreads (the impact) out."

However, not everyone is in favor.

KPBS reports that councilwoman Marti Emerald had this to say, "We can't afford to turn our backs on this, otherwise there will be a continued proliferation of these illegal operations and, chances are, there will be further and greater abuses of the system. These drugs are going to wind up in the hands of kids and people who really don't need this for medicine."

Scott Chipman with San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods told NBC Sand Diego, "I see that there's no reason to have confidence in this city to establish a scheme that would work. That is the biggest problem."