Medical marijuana continued to be a hot button topic around Escondido and North County this month.
Escondido City Council members, again, banned medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits while a proposed dispensary in unincorporated Escondido appeared headed for approval by San Diego County regulators.
Escondido wasn’t along in banning dispensaries this month. Poway’s city council took the same actions as officials there said they needed to tighten ordinances to fend off medical marijuana outlets.
Make no mistake, and you’re not seeing double, Escondido officials have banned medical marijuana dispensaries before and none reside within city limits although delivery services roam free. However, new state laws have changed the structure of the industry, which city officials said prompted them to re-affirm their opposition.
Nearly two decades after the state became the first in the nation to legalize marijuana, Gov. Jerry Brown last October signed several measures to regulate the industry that a voter-approved mandate brought forth.
Called the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), it created a new state Bureau of Marijuana Regulation within the Department of Consumer affairs. The Department of Food and Agriculture now enforces growing laws while the Department of pesticide Regulation oversees pesticide use while growing pot.
New rules take affect March 1. To maintain control over its no-pot zone, Escondido council members unanimously voted to amend regulations re-affirming control over the no-pot zone. Some council members in both Escondido and Poway expressed the view that marijuana could be medicinal, and residents had access to dispensaries at other places.
Medical marijuana dispensary set for unincorporated North Escondido
With that as the backdrop, a medical marijuana dispensary at Nelson Way in unincorporated North Escondido appeared poised for opening. The facility has passed all county zoning and usage hurdles with its proprietors needing only approval by the San Diego Sheriff’s Office to open.
A representative of the Sheriff’s Department last week told the Valley Center Community Planning Group that the agency would conduct a background check and collect an annual $11,000 fee before the dispensary opened its doors.
The marijuana collective at 8530 Nelson Way will operate out of a single-family, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 2,269-square-foot house built in 1979 on 2.5 acres.
The projected collective sits just south of Champagne Lakes RV Resort, east of Old Highway 395 and Interstate 15 in a quiet rural area.
The property is in an area zoned M52, allowing limited impact industrial uses. The permit issued by county regulators allows for the conversion of the single-family home to a medical marijuana facility. Operators may add or remove partitions for an office space, install shatter-proof window glass, convert kitchens, lobbies and restrooms and add steel doors.
The new facility compliant with 5-year-old county medical marijuana facility ordinances was first brought to public attention last week by Oliver Smith, chairman of the advisory-only Valley Center Community Planning Group. Smith said the issue needed publicizing, but admitted his group couldn’t do anything about the new medical pot store.