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Oceanside plans workshop to address legal recreational marijuana

OCEANSIDE — With the passage of Prop 64, Oceanside is looking at how to address legal recreational marijuana use.

At the Jan. 18 City Council meeting a workshop was planned for April to consider additional rules to safeguard the community.

A handful of speakers pointed to issues that need to be resolved.

One speaker said rules need to be in place for multiple-family dwelling units where secondhand tobacco smoke is already a problem.

Another speaker encouraged regulated dispensaries within the city. She said they would add safety to medical marijuana purchases, and curtail black market sales.

Council members’ comments favored more restrictions.

Councilman Jack Feller said he opposes marijuana use, and sees a workshop as a good idea.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said she has already received complaints from residents about neighbors’ secondhand marijuana smoke.

“Eventually we’ll be looking at ways we can address it,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez also disagreed with the public speaker that supported regulated dispensaries within the city.

“(Illegal) Dispensaries increased the black market in my neighborhood (Eastside), kids were riding on bikes selling,” Sanchez said.

Mayor Jim Wood said cultivation in city farm areas needs to be addressed.

State licenses for commercial cultivation and sales will not be issued until 2018, at that time taxation on cultivation and sales begins.

John Mullen, Oceanside city attorney, said this allows plenty of time for the city to put local rules in place.

Until city rules are adopted, Prop 64 spells out immediate state guidelines, chiefly that adults (ages 21 and older) are allowed home use and cultivation of recreational marijuana.

Home cultivation is limited to six plants within a locked area that is not visible from a public place.

Once state business licenses are granted, an adult can also partake in marijuana within a business licensed for on-site consumption.

Licensed sellers must be 600 feet from a school, day care center, or youth center.

The Bureau of Marijuana Control will regulate and license marijuana businesses. Large-scale marijuana businesses can not obtain a state license for five years to prevent monopoly.

Cities can add zoning restrictions or ban sales. Oceanside will be considering those options.

The new state law does not allow marijuana to be smoked while driving, or in public spaces.

Additionally Oceanside has no smoking zones at its parks, beaches, Civic Center, and restaurant outdoor patios that restrict all smoking.

Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy said a citation could be issued for public use.

Additionally, Oceanside police already conduct tests for suspected marijuana-impaired drivers. The tests are similar to balance and reaction tests used to determine alcohol impairment.

“If the officer feels the person is impaired to the point they cannot safely operate a motor vehicle, they are arrested and provided a blood or urine test,” McCoy said. “The blood or urine test will establish if THC is present. The driving pattern, physical test results, and the presence of THC in their system has been enough for a prosecution.”

Under state law an adult can possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana, except on the grounds of a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present.

Purchasing recreational marijuana is currently illegal in Oceanside.

Patients with a medical marijuana card can purchase marijuana from a licensed dispensary outside the city and have it delivered.

State law penalizes unlicensed sellers to six months in a county jail, a fine up to $500, or both.

The planned workshop will consider the allowance of regulated dispensaries, as well as prohibition. City Council members invite the public to email their comments or attend the upcoming workshop.

1 comment

Maurice Burrell March 8, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Please expand the “workshop” to include the cultivation of medical marijuana.

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