Santa Monica Lookout
|Medical Marijuana Proponents File for an Initiative||
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By Daniel Larios
Editor's Note: The original version of this article stated that opponents circulated the petition. The petition was circulated by proponents.
May 22, 2014 -- Proponents of medical marijuana plan to circulate a petition for a ballot measure that would regulate dispensaries in Santa Monica.
The initiative filed with the City Clerk’s office Wednesday afternoon would preempt a proposed Zoning Ordinance update that would allow space for as many as two medical marijuana facilities in the bayside city.
"If unregulated (the distribution of medical marijuana) threatens the interests of local neighborhoods and dispensaries as well as negatively impacting those seriously ill residents of Santa Monica,” reads the notice of intent to circulate petition.
The purpose of the ordinance is to " have medicinal collectives operate with reasonable regulation that mirror those put forward by the League of California Cities and California Police Chiefs Association," the notice states.
The filing comes one month after Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks, a vocal opponent of allowing dispensaries in Santa Monica, called on the City Council to back State Senate Bill 1262, which is what the potential initiative would mirror.
The council voted 4 to 2 not to back the bill on its April 22 meeting.
Medical marijuana has been a contentious issue in Santa Monica.
Last August, the City Council voted 4 to 3 in favor of including space for a limited number of medical marijuana shops in the city’s updated Zoning Ordinance. (“Santa Monica Will Consider Regulating Medical Marijuana Dispensaries,” August 15, 2013)
Because the Council has not taken action on the zoning code, there are no medical marijuana dispensaries within the city borders.
Councilmembers Kevin McKeown, Ted Winterer, Tony Vazquez and Gleam Davis have all come out in support of allowing dispensaries in Santa Monica so long as they are regulated.
During the August Council meeting, McKeown has pointed to the fact that the use of medical marijuana, while illegal by Federal statutes, is protected by California law.
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