In a last ditch effort to ease the restrictions placed on medical marijuana dispensaries, supporters of prescription cannabis appeared before the city council on April 12, urging councilmembers to amend the ordinances that were approved during a March 28 council meeting.
During the hearing, the final one before the regulations are officially added to the municipal code, dozens of pot-shop proponents asked councilmembers to open up all commercial and industrial zones to dispensaries, reduce the distance requirements to 600 feet, and allow dispensaries two years to become compliant with the new regulations.
They testified that if the ordinances are not amended then an estimated 70,000 people would have to wait years to gain access to their prescription pot. They also told councilmembers that if the restrictions are not eased then 72 dispensary owners plan to file lawsuits against the city.
"Regulations should not exceed those of pharmacies and liquor stores, otherwise the city could face multiple lawsuits," said city hall watchdog Jarvis Ross.
Despite the pleas, councilmembers refused to compromise.
"If you don't want us to approve this, then we can all go home and police raids will continue," said councilmember Marti Emerald over a loud applause from the audience.
"Go home then," shouted someone.
"If you want this to be illegal in the City of San Diego, then we can all go home," responded Emerald. "For those of you that say this is a ban, you're dead wrong."
After hours of public testimony and council comment, councilmembers passed the ordinances without amendments, making the 160-plus dispensaries that are currently operating in the city illegal.