The Coast News Group
Community Community Oceanside

City latest to join ban on medical marijuana

OCEANSIDE — Several residents left Wednesday’s city council meeting with shouts of objection over the council’s 3-1 vote to ban medical marijuana commercial cultivation and delivery, with Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery voting no and Mayor Jim Wood absent.

The adoption of anti-marijuana regulations mirrors Council’s vote to introduce the rules earlier this month, with Lowery voting no both times.

The council majority said the vote is about the city having control over local regulations.

“We’re not here to ban marijuana,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said.

The difference between adoption of regulations Wednesday and the first vote is a date certain, which is now set for Feb. 17, when city staff come back to council with rules on safe delivery from licensed dispensaries outside the city.

Following the vote Lowery said he could not support the motion even with a date certain promise to amend city rules, and an assurance there would be no gap in service for patients who need medical marijuana.

Prior to council’s vote close to 30 speakers told heart-rending stories of chronic illness, pain and mental health issues that medical marijuana helps. Speakers said medical marijuana is a preferred option over strong prescription drugs, which have adverse side effects.

Several speakers said they were reluctant to try medical marijuana, but are pleased with its benefits.

“I didn’t try medical marijuana until a few months ago when I hit stage 4 (cancer),” speaker Nancy Flanagan said. “Now I can pick up my kids from school, cook dinner, it’s a huge, huge improvement. I can be a mom.”

Others said it saved their life.

Councilman Jerry Kern said the state is forcing Oceanside’s hand to adopt immediate regulations.

Cities must have rules in place by March 1, or abide by state licensing and regulations that are set to be developed by 2018.

Lowery, Sanchez and Kern said they support looking into city rules for safe delivery.

The city stood firm on not allowing dispensaries. Oceanside adopted zoning regulations in 1992 that prohibit them.

City staff will come back to council with rules for delivery Feb. 17.

Most cities in the county have zoning regulations that do not allow dispensaries, but have not addressed delivery services.

Solana Beach and Escondido have banned dispensaries and delivery.

San Diego is the only city in the county that licenses dispensaries.