Regional Medical Cannabis News
Second Applicant Goes Before Hearing Officer in City of San Diego
Development Services Department Hearing Officer Kenneth Teasley reviewed another medical marijuana consumer cooperative applicant on Wednesday, October 29th. Unlike the first hearing for A Green Alternative in Otay Mesa, the project did not meet all of the criteria set forth by the highly restrictive MMCC ordinance and was recommended for denial from DSD staff due to its close proximity to Mission Bay Park.
Despite arguments made by those in favor of the project, including a representative from ARMA, Teasley failed to use his discretion to rule with the intent of the ordinance and instead sided with the strict letter of the law. Although Mission Bay Park is less than 200 feet away from the proposed cooperative site, Interstate 8 runs in-between the two and serves as a natural barrier which does not allow access to the park from the area where the dispensary would be located.
When questioned, DSD staff said that there is no provision in the current ordinance that takes into account natural barriers like there is in the ordinance written for alcohol-use establishments. Staff members also stated that there is no differentiation between inactive and active parkland in the ordinance. Because of this, Teasley did not think it was within his jurisdiction to override the park issue and denied the Conditional Use Permit for the project located at 3990 Hicock Street. The applicant is expected to appeal this decision.
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A Green Alternative Cooperative CUP Appealed
The first MMCC applicant in the City of San Diego to be approved for a Conditional Use Permit will have to go before the Planning Commission as part of the appeals process. Barbara Gordon, who spoke in opposition to the project when it was heard by DSD Hearing Officer Kenneth Teasley two weeks ago, appealed the approval. The city now has 30 days to schedule the project to be heard by the Planning Commission. The decision of the Planning Commission is final.
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DSD Agrees to Loosen Interpretation of "Minor-Oriented Facility" Restriction
Applicants going through the medical marijuana consumer cooperative permitting process must adhere to very strict regulations in order to be approved for the 5-year Conditional Use Permit, including being at least 1000 feet away from all “minor-oriented” facilities. For many, this hurdle has been difficult to overcome as the term has been broadly applied to include places like music studios and laser tag businesses.
Fortunately for the medicinal cannabis community, Development Services Department staff has agreed to loosen the definition of minor-oriented facilities, allowing several more applicants to pass that standard who were not formerly able to. The loosening of the interpretation may also open up new locations that may not have qualified before.
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California Legislative Update
Just in time for the November 4th election, ARMA's sister organization Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has released a report card for voters which grades policy-makers in each state based on their voting records, as well as their answers to survey questions. Grades can be accessed through the project's website at VoteMedicalMarijuana.org.
To view the complete report, please see http://www.safeaccessnow.org/vmm_california
Voters are set to decide on several county and city medicinal cannabis initiatives in the election on Tuesday, November 4th, including 2 in San Diego county. ARMA previously reported on Measure F in Encinitas and Measure J in La Mesa, both of which would allow for permitted dispensaries in two cities that currently have no ordinance in place. ARMA supports these measures as they would help to provide permanent, responsible access to medicinal cannabis for patients in those cities.
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ARMA invites you to the 1st Annual Responsible Access Awards Gala. Celebrate a historic first year and learn what the trade association has in store for 2015. This will be an exciting evening complete with a keynote address from a very special guest, exhibitors, a dinner buffet, beer & wine, an awards ceremony recognizing the achievements of various individuals and organizations in the industry, live music and dancing.
The Gala will be held on Friday, December 5th, from 6:00-11:30PM at Tango del Rey in Mission Bay (3567 Del Rey St, San Diego, CA 92109). Tickets are $75 per person for ARMA members, $100 per person for prospective members, and $125 at the door. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information or to buy tickets, please contact Margaret Gibert by phone at 619-275-5124 or via email at email@example.com.
We've been having a wonderful time meeting and networking with everyone at these events! We're "mixing" things up a little next time and moving to the Proprieter's Reserve Wine Bar at the Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa (7777 University Ave, La Mesa, CA 91941). Please join ARMA for a fun evening of wine tasting and socializing on Wednesday, November 12th, from 6:00-8:00PM.
In addition to a great night of networking, we will be discussing the latest developments in the City of San Diego's permitting process, as well as medicinal cannabis updates from across the state and nation. Meet, mingle and network with ARMA board members, staff and stakeholders. The Proprieter's Reserve Wine Bar at the Riviera offers over 80 different wines, cheese plates and tapas, and daily happy hour specials. A full dinner menu from the Riviera Supper Club is also available. For more information about the wine bar and supper club, please see rivierasupperclub.com.