Oceanside kicks dispensaries to curb

But it's like playing a game of “whack-a-mole,” says city attorney

The North County toke board tally changed today, March 18. It’s now City of Oceanside, 3. Pot dispensaries, 0.

Oceanside city attorney John Mullen said last week that the future for the two remaining medical marijuana dispensaries in town, Chronic Pain Releaf and So Cal Holistic Health, would be short.

Mullen said in an email: “Both will close March 18, pursuant to a stipulated settlement, pay fines of $10,000 each, and agree to never operate in Oceanside again.”

Today, Mullen said, “We have the [$10,000] check in hand” from Chronic Pain Releaf.

Chronic Pain Releaf is located on San Diego Street, in a building that housed the much-loved El Charrito Mexican café from 1968 to 2000 in the city’s historic Posole neighborhood. He said today was Chronic Pain’s last day.

As far as So Cal Holistic Health at 2949 San Luis Rey Road, Mullen said he had not yet received the $10,000 check as of mid-day March 18, but that it “is in the closing stages.”

So Cal Holistic is located in an Oceanside industrial park in the building that housed the Royal Dive music venue [formerly owned by this writer- Ed.] for almost seven years. Mullen said if So Cal Holistic Health dragged its feet and didn’t shut down by tonight, “We will continue the nuisance abatement action, seek $2500 per day, and a permanent injunction.”

Oceanside closed Natures Leaf near the Highway 78 and El Camino Real in October after a year of legal wrangling.

Mullen told the Reader that as far as he knows there are no other dispensaries in operation in Oceanside at this time, but trying to keep dispensaries from opening is like playing a game of “whack-a-mole.” He says that while Oceanside has successfully employed the civil lawsuit process, it is his understanding that adjacent City of Vista is ramping up its efforts to close its numerous dispensaries by relying more on criminal prosecutions.

The Connoisseurs Club on South Santa Fe Avenue in Vista recently closed. Other Vista dispensaries that advertise on weedmaps.com would not comment for this article.

A man at Vista’s San Diego Farmacy commented, “We were notified by another business in Vista that [city staff] was definitely making the rounds to try and make it harder to at least to stay open…. The laws aren’t cut an dried right now.”

The City of Vista’s spokesperson says information on its dispensary activity would be provided only on a public records request.

There are no storefront dispensaries advertised on weedmaps.com in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, or San Marcos.

“The sad fact is the people of California voted for a law allowing medical marijuana to become legal, which was nothing more than a ruse to sell marijuana to anyone who got a medical card,” says Greg Kent, owner and operator of Bio Clean, an environmental and storm-water management company near So Cal Holistic Health.

“Medical cards are handed out like candy to kids,” continued Kent. “The Reader most likely would not be published today if it was not for half of the magazine being ads for doctors giving out medical cards for any reason a patient comes in with. The Reader is now the equivalent of the ‘Pusher Man.’ God damn, ‘Pusher Man’ was a great song. Let the voters of California speak and either legalize marijuana or not, and quit hiding behind the medical dispensaries.”

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Hal Fisher, I would disagree that this is a cop-mandated issue. It is a zoning, planning, land use issue. The California supreme court ruled that each city can decide its own fate as to whether it will allow pot dispensaries or not. Each city has a planning commission and planning departments. They have every right to say they don't want any brick and mortar pot stores just as they can say they don't want any heavy industrial plants. There are plenty of home-delivered businesses that will bring the pot to your door, and I have heard nothing about police in any city who are harassing these people. What I find most amazing is that with all the competition of these home delivery services, the price of pot still seems outrageous. But with the ongoing huge profitability of pot delivery, I'm sure many more people will keep getting involved, and eventually the price will go down. By the way, is it me or am I wrong: it seems like those who don't want pot completely legal are the people who sell it under the current structure. They get to have their cake and eat it too. They won't go to jail, yet the market seems restricted, pushing up their prices. It does seem like the current arrangement needs to be fixed.

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