While Del Mar and Solana Beach residents will decide in November whether to allow and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in their communities, Encinitas voters will have to wait until 2014 to have their say.
In a 4-0 vote with Mayor Jerome Stocks absent, the Encinitas City Council Wednesday night decided to place a medical marijuana initiative on the city’s 2014 general election ballot. The initiative would limit dispensaries to commercial and industrial areas, restrict hours of operation and impose a 2.5 percent sales tax, among other regulations.
to get the initiative on the November 2012 ballot, but it was to make the filing deadline. Del Mar and Solana Beach city councils voted in July to place similar initiatives on their November ballots.
While presenting a report on the initiative to the council, City Attorney Glenn Sabine informed councilmembers they could adopt the initiative, place the initiative on the 2014 ballot or place a competing measure on the ballot. Sabine recommended the council add the initiative to the 2014 ballot and “wait-and-see” how the public votes on similar initiatives in neighboring cities.
More than a dozen opponents and proponents of the initiative addressed the council for roughly 40 minutes.
Evelyn Hogan agreed that the “wait-and-see approach" was the best approach.
“I do believe when we wait and see, what we will see is that dispensaries will not be allowed,” she said.
Barbara Gordon said the debate “has nothing to do with medicine or compassion for the terminally ill.”
“It has everything to do with the safety of this great community,” Gordon said.
Solana Beach resident Kathleen Mackay said a dispensary used to be located one floor above her office in Sorrento Valley and she doesn’t want a dispensary opened near her home.
“I don’t want it in my city; I don’t want it in my sister cities,” Mackay said. “I’m here to encourage you to try and thwart this effort.”
Dr. Bob Blake, who operates Medical Marijuana of San Diego/Orange County, said medical marijuana patients need a safe and convenient place to purchase their medication.
“Medical marijuana reduces the symptoms of hundreds, if not thousands, of conditions with only a fraction of the side effects of other drugs,” said Blake, who previously practiced emergency medicine at Palomar Medical Center and Pomerado Hospital.
After hearing from the public, Councilman James Bond admitted he is not objective on the issue but he’s “not above the voters.”
“The voters need to make their case,” he said.