In recent months, the city of San Diego received enough permit applications to almost quadruple the number of its active medical marijuana dispensaries. The city’s land development code, officials believed, was too unclear for it to handle that kind of increase.
Are medical marijuana dispensaries a retail sales issue? Pharmaceutical sales? A medical office use? A dental or health practitioner? These uses are allowed in just about all commercial and industrial zones as well as medium- and high-density residential zones. By contrast, the land development code requires outlets that sell alcohol to be 600 feet from schools, churches, parks and playgrounds and 100 feet from residentially zone properties.
The city wants to study where medical marijuana fits in with its current code or whether it needs to create new zoning restrictions. In the meantime, San Diego has stopped its permitting of medical marijuana dispensaries/collectives until it determines new zoning criteria or a recently recommended task force addresses the issue.
The suspension followed a July 21 memo from city Development Services Department Director Kelly Broughton to the city’s Public Safety & Neighborhood Services Committee, which told of the city’s dilemma and its response.