Navajo planners consider pot shops in District 7

No recommendations preceding council approval of new ordinance

Rachel Laing of the Alliance for Responsible Medicinal Access
  • Rachel Laing of the Alliance for Responsible Medicinal Access

Navajo Community Planners, Inc., listened for about an hour February 24 to discussion of the proposed medical-marijuana dispensary ordinance, but the board made no recommendation about the regulation on the San Diego City Council' s February 25 agenda.

Planning-group members questioned Ryley Webb of District 7 councilman Scott Sherman's office and two representatives from the Alliance for Responsible Medicinal Access. Planners heard from a man interested in opening a dispensary, and the board looked at two maps: one designated areas where dispensaries would be allowed; the other showed dispensaries currently in the Navajo community, which include Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, San Carlos, and Grantville.

Webb spoke about dispensary regulations and said Grantville is the only community in District 7 where dispensaries would be allowed under the ordinance.

When it came time for a board recommendation, chair Matt Adams said, "Action time doesn't mean we have to take action." No one made a motion on the issue that was put on the agenda at the urging of boardmember Dan Smith. He owns land in Grantville and said, "I'm getting three to four calls a day" from prospective dispensary operators.

Smith referred to a San Diego Association of Governments 2013 map of potential locations. He said cooperatives could be located on land zoned for industrial use, "which is all of Grantville. The optimal land for approval is the heart of Grantville."

That optimal area is east of Fairmount Avenue and west of Mission Gorge Road.

Navajo weedmap

Navajo weedmap

Rachel Laing of the alliance (and formerly mayor Jerry Sanders’s press secretary) displayed a map from weedmaps.com. On it, the image of a green truck bearing a marijuana leaf indicated the site of unlicensed dispensaries. Navajo community locations included Navajo Road at Jackson Drive in San Carlos and Waring Road in Allied Gardens.

"Our group advocates having a license and strict regulations,” said Laing. “People in our group are patient-focused."

Laing said a person with Parkinson's disease told her, "I shouldn't have to go to a drug dealer."

The ordinance also requires that collectives be nonprofit. Boardmember Steve Grimes asked, "What's in it for [operators]? They're taking a lot of risk for a little salary."

Kimberly Simms, an attorney with the alliance, said, "They're the folks who have the best of intent. [Some] had a family member affected" who couldn't get medical marijuana.

During public comment, Jeff Reinhardt said he runs a collective and "is interested in coming into the area." He said he was willing to talk about that and why he operates a collective.

The board didn't take Reinhardt up on his offer and acted by taking no action on the issue.

The San Diego City Council on February 25 approved the ordinance, allowing four dispensaries per district, with those located in some industrial and commercial zones. However, prospective cooperative operators could face another challenge because the city is working on a Navajo community plan amendment. Proposed modifications include changing industrial zoning around the Grantville trolley station to a mixture of commercial and residential use.

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