Oceanside voters should be very cautious and skeptical about an initiative currently gathering signatures, backed by the cannabis industry, which would eliminate public input in the cannabis licensing process and bring an unlimited number of pot shops to Oceanside.
Dallin Young, quoted several times in the Coast News article on 2/28, is not a resident of Oceanside. He is the Political Director of the Association of Cannabis Professionals, whose aim is to empower the cannabis industry.
The claim that an unlimited supply of ‘regulated’ marijuana will drive out the black market is not based on fact. Every city, state, and country with licensed cannabis retailers continue to battle the black market – from backyard grows to sophisticated drug trafficking organizations, black market weed is unlikely to go away.
And the claim that eliminating the conditional use permit process will help low-income people open pot shops is questionable. It’s possible, but there is nothing in the initiative restricting who can apply to open a marijuana storefront, including out-of-state marijuana corporations. It requires the city to issue a local license in any commercial or industrial zone after receiving an application meeting minimal criteria. Local, small business applicants will have competition, and there are no guarantees they will succeed.
The only distance restriction is being at least 600 ft. from a K-12 school, day-care center, or youth center (Section 5026 of State BCC Regulations). If your home borders a commercial or industrial zone, you will have no input. If multiple applications are submitted for the same strip mall, the city cannot enforce any limits. If you operate a dance studio, karate studio, treatment center, or church, you will have no input on how many pot shops open near you.
Voters may have a say in November, but if they approve the initiative, they give up any future say in local control.
As the Adjutant for the North San Diego Young Marines, and Board member of the North Coastal Prevention Coalition, I dedicate countless volunteer hours to helping young people live a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
The Young Marines strengthens the lives of youth by teaching the importance of self-confidence, academic achievement, honoring our veterans, good citizenship, community service, and living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. The Young Marines promote the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building and leadership and promotes a lifestyle that is conducive to being productive members of society.
Here in North County, our unit alone has 65 youth members doing remarkable work for our community. Between Drug Demand Reduction/Education efforts, community events and school presentations, they average over 1,800 volunteer hours every year on drug education and prevention.
The North San Diego Young Marines are the current National Unit of the Year, largely due to raising community awareness on the dangers of drug use, specifically marijuana. We have received numerous proclamations, the San Diego County Red Ribbon Outstanding Prevention Program Award, and National Kiki Camarena DEA Awards.
Increasing marijuana marketing and availability will harm the ongoing efforts of youth throughout our community, not just the Young Marines. Encouraging their friends to be drug-free has been progressively challenging with the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use.
Without a concerted effort to limit the location and number of dispensaries, our kids are at undue risk in a variety of ways. They should be allowed the opportunity for healthy development, without the encroachment of neighborhood pot shops.
Marie Smith is the Adjutant for the North San Diego Young Marines, and a Board member of the North Coastal Prevention Coalition.
About North Coastal Prevention Coalition
Vista Community Clinic serves as the fiscal agent for NCPC grants and contracts. Funded in part by the County of San Diego, HHSA, Behavioral Health Services.