On July 7, inside Imperial Beach council chambers, Mayor Jim Janney and councilmembers Lorie Bragg, Patricia McCoy, Jim King, and Diane Rose will go on record, responding to a June 7 San Diego County Grand Jury report regarding the Grand Jury recommendations that the 18 municipalities in San Diego County create regulations, adopt land-use ordinances, and rescind any moratoriums on the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries within their jurisdictions.
All cities in San Diego County are required to agree or disagree to the Grand Jury's recommendations within 90 days. Any city that disagrees with the findings are obligated to provide an explanation for their opposition.
The city of Imperial Beach — at least city manager Gary Brown — needed only 30 days to respond.
In a letter to Imperial Beach city councilmembers, Brown claims that the Grand Jury's findings are "not reasonable."
"The grand jury's report comes at an unfortunate time for local governments in general and for Imperial Beach in particular," reads Brown's letter to city councilmembers. Brown claims that federal laws prohibiting the sale or possession of marijuana contradict the city and state medical marijuana laws. Hashing out those differences, reads the letter, leaves cities left to "operate in a thicket of legal uncertainty."
Brown's letter is laced with several objections to the Grand Jury's findings, including a pending court case in Anaheim that concerns the land use authority that municipalities have over dispensaries and a November ballot measure aimed at legalizing the use and sale of Marijuana in California. Until those opinions and outcome to the initiative are heard, writes the city manager, Imperial Beach would be acting in haste by establishing regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Regardless of the outcomes, "The City would still need to pass an ordinance, and if the ordinance regulates land use, it may need to seek approval from the Coastal Commission. And if taxes are involved, the City may need voter approval."
Regarding the moratorium enacted by I.B. city councilmembers last year, Brown determined that since the Grand Jury failed to interview any residents of I.B. and did not ascertain that "anyone in Imperial Beach is a legitimately qualified medical marijuana patient," there is no evidence that residents had difficulty getting their prescriptions filled.
"Additionally," added Brown's letter, "Imperial Beach residents could likely obtain medical marijuana in other locations." Though, not in the neighboring cities of Chula Vista or National City, which have also established moratoria on opening and operating medical marijuana dispensaries.
The Imperial Beach City Council will spark up the issue at Wednesday's council meeting at 6 p.m.