The Coast News Group

Council splits on marijuana ordinances

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council split on a pair of ordinances aimed at dealing with medical marijuana cultivation and delivery in the city limits.

The council unanimously voted on Dec. 16 to adopt a draft ordinance that prohibits the cultivation of marijuana that isn’t protected by state law. It also voted 3-1 to create a subcommittee that will look at how the city can regulate marijuana delivery services, with Kristin Gaspar voting against it.

Mark Muir was absent.

Originally, the council was asked to vote on an ordinance that would prohibit such delivery services from operating in Encinitas, which the voting majority disagreed with. Council member Lisa Shaffer said she believed medical marijuana patients, such as cancer patients weakened by chemotherapy, should have access to such delivery services.

“So if a chemo patient can get themselves to a dispensary or is affluent enough that they can have a primary caregiver deliver the marijuana to them, they can get it, but somebody who doesn’t have a primary caregiver is just out of luck, and I don’t think that’s right,” Shaffer said of the proposed ban.

City Attorney Glenn Sabine brought forth the two ordinances, which he said would essentially preserve the status quo in Encinitas. The League of California Cities recommended that cities take up action either reaffirming prohibitions or regulating marijuana cultivation and delivery in advance of a state law that kicks in during 2016 that would give the state licensing authority for those activities in the absence of clear municipal authority.

“I brought it forward on my own, I didn’t want time to lapse and all of sudden the state would be the sole regulatory authority,” Sabine said.

In voting against the delivery service proposal, Gaspar said she felt the current ordinances would basically maintain the status quo without the city wading into the waters of regulating delivery services.

“This is a simple decision for me,” she said.

The ordinance that the council did approve does not supersede the rights of medical marijuana patients that are protected under the state’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.