ARMA Newsletter – January 16, 2015

Regional Medical Cannabis News


City Council Denies CEQA Appeals for 11 MMCC Applicants 

The San Diego City Council met Tuesday, January 13, to hear appeals of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) determinations of 11 medical marijuana consumer cooperative (MMCC) applications. The MMCC projects had been deemed exempt from CEQA pursuant to Guidelines Section 15303 (Existing Facilities). None of the projects had triggered exceptions to the exemption. Many of the appeals were submitted by local anti-drug activists citing a 2500 square foot limit, but Development Services Department (DSD) staff clarified that the limit does not apply to industrial zones. The space limit for projects that are zoned for industrial use is 10,000 square feet. The appeals seemed to be solely for the purpose of stalling the process, not based on actual CEQA conflicts, and the council voted unanimously to deny each of the 11 appeals.

Speakers in support of the appeals cited potential environmental hazards resulting from concentrates made using butane extractions, which caused several explosions in Southern California last year. The council noted that using butane to make concentrates is illegal and the projects that ultimately receive permits will be subject to inspection by law enforcement, so they did not feel that possible butane explosions at the permitted cooperatives was an issue that would warrant approval of the appeals. Appellants also brought up air quality issues from increased traffic in the areas surrounding the MMCC projects. DSD staff said that for existing structures, emissions had already been taken into account, and the projects did not conflict with regional air quality safety. Questions were also raised about locations that were not ADA compliant, but DSD staff clarified that they would not recommend approval of conditional use permits for projects that did not adhere to ADA standards.

City council members also addressed the issue of applicants who are currently operating unlicensed shops. DSD indicated that if they know an applicant is currently operating an unlicensed dispensary, they are able to hold up the application until the unlicensed shop is closed. Also, an open code violation at an MMCC applicant’s address would cause the application not to move forward.


California Legislative Update


Two Bills Introduced in the State Legislature Aimed at Statewide Regulations
California legislators see the urgency in passing comprehensive statewide regulations for cultivation, transportation, and distribution of medicinal cannabis. Two bills have been filed for the 2015 state legislative session in hopes of finally creating a statewide regulatory system for medical cannabis.

— Assembly Bill 26, introduced by Assembly Member Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, resurrects this year’s failed AB 1894 by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano. Jones-Sawyer represents the 59th District of South Los Angeles.

— Assembly Bill 34, introduced by Assembly Member Rob Bonta, is a placeholder containing a one-sentence statement of intent to regulate the state’s billion-dollar medical marijuana industry. Bonta represents the 18th District in the East Bay.

Upcoming Events


Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform
CCPR will be meeting with interested parties in San Diego to discuss the push for legalization in California in 2016. Listen to what they have planned and let them know your thoughts on the issue. The meeting will be held on Friday, January 30, 2015 from 6-8PM at Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant, 9353 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, San Diego, CA  92123. No RSVP necessary.

Pediatric Cannabis Therapy Support Group

Using cannabis to help treat your child’s Cancer, Epilepsy, or other medical condition, or curious how to integrate mmj into treatment? Join other local moms the first Tuesday of each month at 8PM for a pediatric cannabis therapy support group. The location varies. Contact Allison Benavides, MSW, at for more information on how to get involved.

More MMJ News: Elsewhere Edition


Medical marijuana a challenge for legal pot states

Federal Judge Weighs Marijuana’s Classification

Battle Between Rec, MMJ in Washington State

Cannabis Capitalism-Style: Will Corporate Marijuana Be Marlboroized?

Mendocino County officials surprised by tribe’s plans for pot farm

Yuba County eyes tougher marijuana law

Marijuana Policy in 2015: Eight Big Things to Watch

College athletics’ approach to marijuana murky, inconsistent

$2 billion company betting big on marijuana

Uruguay’s year in weed: 3 big successes, 3 burning questions

Pot Pie, Redefined? Chefs Start to Experiment With Cannabis