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By waiting to take up the issue the council will miss a deadline to accept up to $75,000 in cannabis-related grant funding. File photo
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Medicinal requirement removed for cannabis cultivation in Oceanside

OCEANSIDE — Cannabis cultivation facilities in town will be able to provide products for both medical and recreational cultivation uses.

City Council introduced an ordinance that removes the medical restriction for cultivation facilities. The action follows a direction Council gave to staff in August 2019 to bring forward a code amendment that would remove the medical restriction for cultivation to allow for “adult use” or recreational use.

Cultivation facilities must continue to follow all existing requirements, according to Stefanie Cervantes, a planner with the city. The city previously increased the number of cultivation licenses from five to 12 last August.

As of right now, the city has issued 12 local licenses for cultivation facilities and has received five conditional use permit applications.

The Council voted 4-1 to introduce the ordinance at its June 24 meeting with only Deputy Mayor Jack Feller opposed.

Feller has been vocal about his opposition to recreational cannabis and regrets his past vote approving medicinal cannabis uses in the city.

“I fell for the bait,” Feller said. “It’s a true bait and switch from what was initially brought before us.”

Councilmember Chris Rodriguez believes that local control of cannabis businesses will reduce the number of illegal cannabis operations in the city.

“You will not find an 11th grader walking into a dispensary in Vista because that business will lose its license immediately,” Rodriguez said. “There are too many adults available to patronize those businesses.”

A more effective way of protecting children from cannabis use would be to stop the “black market” cannabis operations, Rodriguez said.

“We’re not expanding the black market, we’re getting rid of it,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez also noted that by opening cultivation for recreational purposes would help bring in revenue to the city to make up for financial losses from COVID-19.

Councilmember Esther Sanchez said she supported the ordinance because it helps to support the city’s agricultural uses.

Rodriguez was also interested in removing the medicinal restriction on storefronts and manufacturers in the city as well, potentially through a ballot measure.

Mayor Peter Weiss made a motion to hold a special meeting in July to discuss a potential cannabis ballot measure, but that vote failed with Feller, Sanchez and Councilmember Ryan Keim opposed.

Both Sanchez and Keim said they wanted to take it slowly when considering any expansion of the city’s cannabis industry and to wait to have such a meeting when residents can attend council meetings once again.

1 comment

Nadine Scott July 11, 2020 at 10:59 am

Rodriguez, once again, exhibited a total lack of class, by swearing and criticizing other council members from the dais. Sanchez had to remind him that council has a Decorum policy. Does anyone really want that hot head and a guy in debt up to his eyeballs on the council?

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