Medical marijuana delivery, cultivation banned in Del Mar, Solana Beach

REGION — The delivery, cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana will soon be prohibited in Solana Beach and at least temporarily in Del Mar.

In response to recent state legislation, the Solana Beach City Council, at its Jan. 13 meeting, unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that bans all three activities.

In September the California Legislature passed a series of bills that together establish the first statewide regulatory system for medical cannabis businesses.

Cities have a few options to address the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, as it is known. They can adopt their own ordinances to either regulate or prohibit cultivation and delivery or take no action.

“If a jurisdiction does not implement regulations or specific prohibitions in their municipal code the state will provide regulation for them,” Solana Beach City Manager Greg Wade said.

A drafting error in the new law stated that cities have until March 1 to take action on cultivation and Jan. 1, 2018, on delivery. That language was supposed to be eliminated but was inadvertently left in the final bill.

While state lawmakers work to correct the error, many cities are not taking any chances on losing control of regulating medical marijuana within their jurisdictions and have passed or are in the process of passing their own laws.

According to the Solana Beach ordinance, “primary care givers would still be authorized to transport and deliver medical marijuana to qualified patients … provided they do not do it for profit and that they only have in their possession the limited amounts of marijuana allowed under the Medical Marijuana Program,” Community Services Director Bill Chopyk, said.

“So this ordinance is really intended to regulate commercial deliveries, commercial cultivation,” he added. “Patients with valid medical marijuana … licenses … would still be allowed to use their medicine, so to speak.

“Also, qualified patients may still drive to an authorized collective or dispensary in another city and bring the marijuana back to their homes provided that they have (a) proper ID card and do not have more than the amounts limited provided under the Medical Marijuana Program,” Chopyk said.

In the November 2012 election an initiative to allow medical marijuana dispensaries failed 4,232 to 2,610.

The ordinance will be adopted at a second reading Jan. 27 and go into effect 30 days later.

At their Jan. 19 meeting the City Council members in Del Mar adopted an urgency ordinance with a 4-0 vote with Al Corti abstaining, banning commercial cultivation, delivery and distribution.

Most council members said they support the use of medical marijuana because they have seen loved ones benefit from its use. They said they passed the emergency measure, which takes effect immediately, so they didn’t lose the ability to regulate cultivation and delivery in Del Mar.

A 2012 initiative to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the city also failed 1,430 to 1,124.

In Solana Beach about a half dozen speakers — most of them associated with drug-prevention organizations — urged council members to adopt the ban. In Del Mar, two of the three people who addressed council did not support the prohibition.

Del Mar residents Linda and Tyler Strause said medical marijuana provided their husband and father “some quality of life” before brain cancer took his life six years ago.

But resident Phyllis Cardon said she didn’t “want anything to do with marijuana or any other drug in our small town.”

She said she lost a family member to drug addiction and did not want her 27 grandchildren to “be exposed to any drug in any way.”

“I want them to feel safe in the time that they spend here in Del Mar.”

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