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Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Still Illegal Within City Limits

Cannabis dispensing storefronts won't be coming into Santee anytime soon, though one is coming very close, very soon.

If you haven't noticed, there are no dispensing storefronts (dispensaries) anywhere in Santee, and it's staying that way for the foreseeable future. A last week put the kibosh on any such plans.

In July of 2009, the City Council put a moratorium on dispensaries within Santee city limits in order for city staff to analyze the situation more thoroughly. A moratorium of that type may only last two years, so the issue was brought to the council for discussion last Wednesday.

City officials, including the City Attorney put together a report that recommends the city continue on its current legal course with dispensaries, not creating a specific land zoning for dispensaries, generally excluding any non-specified land use and therefore not allowing their operation within the city. According to the City Attorney, there is much precedent for cities to implicitly prohibit dispensaries in this manner. See the full report attached to the agenda in the media box.

East County medical marijuana patient and activist Dennis Boisvert spoke before the council encouraging open access to storefronts that dispense the medicine he uses (see video of him speaking in the media box). He described the city staff report on dispensaries to be "lies and biased."

"I use medical marijuana to deal with arthritis pain," said Boisvert. "There are people who need access and I'm willing to bet you're ignoring a lot of citizens in Santee.

"The county gives me a card that says it's legal for me as a patient to have [marijuana], and all I get from my community is: "Well, we're not going to give you a source,' " he said.

A few other speakers spoke in opposition to the city's stance on dispensaries, including previous city council candidate . Amongst other arguments, they also claimed the city was "picking and choosing" the two court cases that support their stance, and ignoring many cases that don't.

Two speakers representing the took the dais to applaud the city for it's continuing stance against dispensaries.

"There is access, it can be delivered, and it will be on the outskirts of our city soon," said . "We're not against people who need to use it, we just don't want dispensaries here. Small communities don't have the time or resources to open this big can of worms."

said he doesn't see a difference between disallowing chickens and disallowing dispensaries in the city.

"We don't zone for parlors in Santee," he said. "There is a marijuana Wal-Mart going on our border, so it's not really an issue of accessibility for medical marijuana," said Voepel. 

The dispensary Voepel spoke about is expected to open sometime this summer on unincorporated county land near Gillespie Field at Wing and Airport roads, according to Santee City Planner Melanie Kush.

In response to council asking for clarification on the state of medical marijuana law, City Attorney Shawn Haggerty summarized the situation: In 1996 California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act which allows the use of medical marijuana when recomended by physician and prevents patient from state prosecution. It is still considered illegal under federal law.

Councilmember made a motion to go with staff recommendations, continuing to deny dispensary business permits.

Councilmember seemed stuck on the statement of one medical marijuana activist that there are three marijuana delivery services that deliver in Santee. He asked Captain Musgrove if deliveries are copacetic with city laws. Captain Musgrove replied with an unclear answer, something fairly common when discussing the varying legality of medical marijuana at a federal, state, county and municipal level.

The motion carried with four aye votes, with (ironically the one councilmember that served on San Diego's Medical Marijuana Task Force and knows the most on the subject amongst the countilmembers) absent, and dispensaries are still illegal in Santee.

Jeremy June 14, 2011 at 10:05 PM
(Mayor Randy Voepel said he doesn't see a difference between disallowing chickens and disallowing dispensaries in the city.) To the best of my knowledge, the people of California haven't passed a State law providing safe access to medicinal chickens. State law is what our city government has usurped.
Jean June 15, 2011 at 09:16 PM
We voted to allow patients or their caregiver to grow a few plants for their own use as prescribed by their doctor. Prop 215 as usual turned into something far different from what the voters intended. Colorado legalized it so they could tax the dispensaries and now they are everywhere. They are reaping an amazing amount of money for the cities but at what price? In a state with so many "fit" people who ski, hike, bike, run, etc. they have an awful lot of "patients" who get to light up, eat up (yes, the dispensaries sell brownies) and all the prescriptions come from a very few doctors in Denver.
Doug Curlee June 15, 2011 at 10:54 PM
or, alternatively..federal law is what the city has chosen to obey.. wisely so, in my opinion.. doug
mosesmama June 15, 2011 at 11:02 PM
This is a good example. Thank you Jeremy. Medicinal Chickens ....
mosesmama June 15, 2011 at 11:08 PM
Why has Prop 215 turned into something far different ? What did the voters intend to do ? There are probably a lot more able to enjoy the hikeing, and outdoor activities because of relief from their pain. Is that such a crime ?
Mike June 16, 2011 at 02:15 AM
What did these sick people do before 1996? I know, they bought it from illegal street dealers. They are still buying it from illegal drug dealers now, the are just called dispensaries. The law allows you to associate to collectively and cooperativley cultivate marijuana to be shared among collective members. Nothing in the law allows for the SALE of marijuana. Here is a novel idea, Grow your own at home. What safer access could there be? What's that? your too ill? Designate a caregiver to grow for you, don't forget the caregiver must provide more care for you than just weed.
Terrie Best June 16, 2011 at 05:26 PM
The proliferation of dispensaries suggests a need. This need will not go away and cities should enact policies and procedures to allow for that.
Doug Curlee June 16, 2011 at 06:26 PM
terrie.. i wouldn't argue with that, for the most part.. but those policies and procedures must be much, MUCH tougher than they are now.. well over half, i'd say., of the current "providers" are in fact drug dealers who couldn't care less about proper procedures..as long as they're sellin' grass at volume.. doug
James Thomas June 16, 2011 at 10:21 PM
I don't use Marijuana for any reason but it is a plant the good Lord put here for our use. Those man made DRUGS we get from the Pharmist are much more dangerous than marijuana. Listen to all the disclosure and dangerous side effects they mentions in there commercials. But those companies have lobbiest in Washington lining our politicians pockets to approve them which then makes it ok and legal for our use no mater what the dangers are. How bad is that?
Brian Thedell June 16, 2011 at 11:06 PM
Do you have evidence to back up these claims? Or do you simply assume that, just because they accept money for marijuana, these dispensaries MUST be nefarious? I've been to quite a number of dispensaries; I'd agree that there have been a couple that should be "policed" out of existence. By making them LEGAL, it's easier to weed out (pardon the expression) the seedy, drug-dealer like dispensaries. By the way, even at the "questionable" dispensaries, they have NEVER failed to check my ID, every single time. I'd be willing to be good money that dispensaries sell to minors a lot less than bars do. But you know what? Maybe the ban isn't such a bad thing. It has created a THRIVING delivery service business. If people can get their "medication" in the safety of their own home, when then is that such a bad thing? Like most "war on drugs" laws, keeping the dispensaries out of Santee just makes thing slightly less convenient for the users/patients/etc.
Doug Curlee June 17, 2011 at 03:46 AM
the evidence i have, brian, is my own observations and memories of god knows how many police raids we went along on over the years.. seeing with my own eyes the way they ran their "business".. a couple of them at least made efforts to keep records..but it was easily apparent that they sold to anyone who walked in the door with money in their hand.. doctors' "recommendations" were second thought, if in fact thought of at all.. been there, seen that.. james, i'm not gonna get into the prescription drug debate.. that's not what we're talking about here.. doug
Terrie Best June 17, 2011 at 04:52 AM
It is quite profitable to get into the dispensary bashing business. The County Alcohol and Drug Services Prevention money has been high jacked by a gaggle of housewives and religious zealots who focus on cannabis dispensaries instead of educating teens about good choices. Prohibitionist profiteers should turn away from the cannabis dispensaries and toward the children. The children are counting on them to help them make sound decisions but prohibitionists are looking right through our kids, trying to destroy safe access and sound regulations. Prohibitionists should do the right thing and focus on the children and leave the patients alone. Public funds are being used to harass and marginalize patients to serve a moral and financial agenda and its happening right now in this county. Money designated to use for the children is being used to generate lies and misinformation on this issue. It is very easy to focus on destroying safe access, not so easy to really help children with education on this issue and that is why these prohibitionist profiteers take this route. They lie to stay alive financially and then take the precious funds they do get for prevention and rob the children of their drug education programs. Now that is a SHAM. Do the right thing, educate on this issue.
Doug Curlee June 17, 2011 at 02:01 PM
or maybe they're trying to teach kids that making good choices does NOT involve breaking the law.. everone seems to conveniently ignore the fact that what they're doing is against federal law.. and if the feds crack down, ALl the dispensaries are gonna be out of business.. if you must have MEDICAL marijuana, then tightly regulate it...and i mean TIGHTLY.. that's gonna cost money..but it's money that needs to be spent.. doug
Brian Thedell June 17, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Well, "Doug" it's nice to know that, in you at least, old time sensationalist Yellow journalism is still alive and well. Considering the dispensaries have only really been around for a few years now, your claims of having seen abuses in scores of them "with my own eyes" are plain ridiculous. In fact, can you point us to ONE story, video, etc. online that proves you've EVER covered a dispensary? I'd be very interested to see just exactly what you mean when you say you've "reported" on these dispensaries, especially since your overwhelming "experience" is in direct conflict with mine, and with the experiences of all my friends.
Doug Curlee June 17, 2011 at 06:48 PM
don't have any idea what might be online..nor do i care.. but if you think pot shops have only been around a few years, then you're seriously misinformed.. this has been going on in one form or another since the 60's, for god's sake..and passing a new law labeling them "dispensaries" hasn't changed a thing about them.. if there must be medical marijuana, and i can see where there is a need for it for some people, then it needs to be in some sort of a clinical setting.. or at least delivered and administered by some sort of health care professional.. you'll never see me agreeing with the walk-in "dispensaries" concept..it's an open invitation to drug dealing and criminal behavior.. always has been, always will be.. doug
Mike June 18, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Checking one's physician recommendation to smoke pot does not make a dispensary legal. According to the Attorney General they must be non-profit. A non-profit must be set up as a corporation. If your incorporated, there must be corporate officers and meetings that include the members. Ask anyone leaving a dispensary who the corporate officers are or if they have ever been to a meeting.....You will get a blank stare from most all of them. Furthermore, just look at the prices being charged. $20.00 for a gram of weed equals a $9120.00 pound. Must be some damn good stuff when street weed is no more than $3000.00 a pound. Whats compasionate about that? Grow your own at home for your own personal use and there will be no issues wth profits, drug cops etc.... This "gaggle of housewives and religious zealots" are only standing up for what they believe just like you are.
Patrick June 19, 2011 at 03:29 PM
The federal government is going to have to defend its sovereignty from medical marijuana to sanctuary cities. Federal law usurps state law, we fought a civil war over this fact. The longer the Feds allow states and cities to disregard federal law, the more challenges they will have and the lower their right is in the international community that this is indeed a country
Doug Curlee June 19, 2011 at 06:58 PM
so, patrick.. are you for it or against it? can't really tell from your post... doug
Diego June 21, 2011 at 07:07 PM
I’d like to respond to Terrie Best’s tired and false claims that drug preventionists aren’t educating the children. Drug preventionists and health advocates work tirelessly to protect them from the danger and harms of drug use. I have been to and watched several City Council hearings and this is who I see testifying against marijuana dispensaries: Parents of young people who are concerned about the messages the pot shop owners and they hired lawyers/lobbyists portraying pot to be harmless when in fact it’s a highly toxic, addictive, cancer-causing weed. Business owners who are outraged that they got proper city permits to operate a legitimate business, but pot shop owners who sell a cancer causing Schedule I narcotic do so with any city permits. Recovering drug addicts who testify of the difficulties they are overcoming and their concerns of seeing pot shops as they leave their drug recovery clinics. Young people who have testified about the ease at which their friends obtain pot from dispensaries to get stoned at school and at home. These people in our neighborhoods aren’t against patients; a true caregiver and patient can associate together to use marijuana, for this is what Prop. 215 and SB 420 set up. Of most concern is the abusive and illegal marijuana dispensaries sending harmful messages and pot under the guise of medicine to our young people.
Terrie Best June 23, 2011 at 03:30 AM
Drug preventionists do nothing to protect children. But they do harm them by fighting against regulations, advocating for harmful policies designed to make them criminals and ensuring that drug cartels thrive. If these people do work, they are handsomely paid by public funds to set up stings outside of high schools, teach county staff how to ban safe access through slick zoning tactics and otherwise ignore good public policy when implementing state law. Diego, I am willing to bet your income comes from prohibition, either through law enforcement or some backward non-profit that sucks money out of the local budget to marginalize sick people who rely on cannabis to improve their quality of life.
Rob H. June 23, 2011 at 09:25 PM
Terrie, please explain to me how the drug cartels (look up the definition of cartel in the dictionary) who operate the "dispensaries" are following the will of the compassionate voters. You know, the people who voted for Proposition 215. Here's what the voter information pamphlet said: From the Argument in favor: "Proposition 215 allows patients to cultivate their own marijuana simply because federal laws prevent the sale of marijuana, and a state initiative cannot overrule those laws." That's what the voters believed. In the Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Proposition 215, San Francisco DA Terrence Hallinan wrote: "Proposition 215 does not allow ''unlimited quantities of marijuana to be grown anywhere." It only allows marijuana to be grown for a patient's personal use. Police officers can still arrest anyone who grows too much, or tries to sell it. Police officers can still arrest anyone for marijuana offenses. Proposition 215 simply gives those arrested a defense in court, if they can prove they used marijuana with a doctor's approval. " Hmm. Police "can still arrest anyone who tries to sell it." Do you see the point, Terrie? Marijuana sales are illegal. That's what the voters believed would be the case, if they voted to allow compassionate use. No one voted to have marijuana stores in our neighborhoods, or for free marijuana magazines in the hands of our kids.
Rob H. June 23, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Good points all, Mike. Here's the definition of "caregiver," right from Propositon 215: '''primary caregiver' means the individual designated by the person exempted under this section who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person." Funny, on Wednesday I met a guy moving into an apartment in P.B. He's from Sacramento. He says he's going to be a caregiver, and sell weed to earn a living. Hmmm. I'm curious how he consistently assumed responsibility blah blah blah for his new best friends in P.B., living 500 miles away.
Bryceson Cabading July 12, 2011 at 10:57 PM
I don't see anything wrong with letting these legitimate businesses that are just trying to make a living come to santee.
Ron Schoonover July 14, 2011 at 11:06 PM
Everyone is worried about the marijuana dispensaries. It is supply and demand. It needs to be regulated from the start. A 22 yr walks into a medical marijuana doctor and says they can't sleep and bam here is your medical card. If there wasn't so many cards there would not be so many marijuana dispensaries. Period!! You must regulate the doctors first and then the rest will fall right into line. If every Tom, Dick and Harry can't get a card the demand slows and so does the marijuana dispensaries.
mike krysinski May 04, 2013 at 08:28 AM
Give me one just one documented case of pot causing cancer buddy. And why is it OK to sell cigarettes at every store and mini mart?? How many thousands of verifiable cases of them causing cancer ending in death are there EVERY DAY? My father for one....I'm not for pot shops but try and do a little research before you start posting B.S. Tobacco kills something like 100,000 or 200,000 people a year in this country alone and what about alcohol???
Doug Curlee May 06, 2013 at 07:40 PM
the california supreme court has finally weighed in.. it has just ruled that cities and counties CAN decide to ban pot shops anywhere in their legal jurisdictions.. finally, a decision that leaves the dispensaries under the control of the locals..most of whom will do the right thing and ban them altogether..as santee has.. somebody showing some common sense, finally.. doug

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