Advocates seek to pose pot question to Oceanside voters

OCEANSIDE — Next time you shop for groceries in Oceanside a volunteer with a clipboard might ask you to sign a petition to put regulations for city marijuana businesses on the ballot. The ballot initiative is proposed by Dallin Young, executive director of the Association of Cannabis Professionals.

Young said the group is a regional trade association that politically supports legal marijuana businesses. He added business regulations benefit everyone.

The proposed initiative would ensure that cannabis businesses are a safe distance from sensitive uses such as schools, parks and churches, and are limited in number. Commercial cultivation would only be allowed in agricultural areas.

Young said the group is proposing an initiative in Oceanside because a majority of city voters supported state Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana.

City laws are the next step to regulate marijuana cultivation, lab testing, manufacturing and sales. Young said without rules black market practices will continue, and consumers will be left without product assurances.

The group has been gathering signatures and educating residents for two weeks. Young said there are a lot of misconceptions and many people do not realize that state legalization of medical and recreational marijuana leaves cities without cannabis business laws.

He said currently some businesses are trying to do their best for consumers, and others are trying to make a quick buck. For consumers, it’s a dangerous gamble, he added.

Young said he talked to Oceanside council members about the initiative and asked for their input. He said some council members shared their thoughts and others were reluctant to engage in dialogue.

“Council members have taken it differently,” Young said.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said she talked to Young and asked that commercial cultivation, measures to protect minors and drug rehabilitation be included in city regulations. She added she does not support the initiative at this time.

The city also launched an ad hoc committee to look at medical marijuana business regulations. The committee wrapped up its final public hearing Sept. 28.

Due to the Brown Act, Sanchez was not able to participate in committee meetings that were chaired by Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery and Councilman Jerry Kern.

Young said he is aware of the ad hoc committee and would like it to be successful in council adoption of medical marijuana business permits and zoning. He said he is in favor of some forms of city regulations, and is not aware of specific recommendations the committee will share with council in November.

He commended the committee for its efforts, and acknowledged that marijuana regulations are a new frontier.

“It’s a complicated industry,” Young said. “You’re not going to get down to the nitty-gritty of it in a few ad hoc meetings.”

He added if the council majority is not in agreement with committee recommendations, the proposed ballot initiative would be a plan B to ensure regulations are in place.

The proposed initiative addresses medical and recreational cannabis businesses. Young said it is beneficial to include both.

Medical marijuana sales cannot be taxed. Recreational sales are taxable and provide revenues to implement city- and state-mandated regulations.

Kern spoke against the initiative at the Oct. 3 MainStreet Morning Meeting. He advised residents not to sign a petition to put the initiative on the ballot, and added laws that are voted in are difficult to change.

The Association of Cannabis Professionals is proposing similar initiatives in Encinitas and Vista, which also had high voter support for Proposition 64.

5 Comments
  1. Nadine Scott 1 week ago

    It’s really a shame this group wants to force a costly special election costing $500-600K. Also sad they are not respecting the work of the City of Oceanside subcommittee on this. No one has seem their initiative so it would be nice to publish a link???

  2. Itzamm 5 days ago

    Sad that Coast News is ignoring the months of work by Oceanside’s own Ad Hoc Committee, all the time and research, expert testimony, public comments, patients and their families to write about an out-of-town effort that would undermine all their hard work. Not only would Mr. Young’s out-of-town initiative cost taxpayers over $1/2 million, but it would take control and regulation AWAY from Oceanside. Oceanside residents would no longer get a say in how many dispensaries, where they’re located, how they’re regulated, or be able to change something later on. And, by the way, STATE LAW ALREADY KEEPS MARIJUANA AWAY FROM SCHOOLS. If the signature gatherers had read what they’re asking people to sign, they’d be able to answer questions. Sanchez didn’t have to participate, but she could have done the speakers the courtesy of attending and LISTENING to Oceanside residents. Sanchez says she “doesn’t support it at this time,” but she’s doing a pretty good impression of support at public meetings.

  3. Kristen Johnson 2 days ago

    It’s sad that Mr. Young and the out-of-town group decided to try to force a costly election when they had plenty of time to meet the deadline. I’m sick and tired of outside interests coming to Oceanside to spread their agenda and waste our tax money.

    Hopefully citizens won’t sign the petition, or at least not enough to force a special election. I’m already urging neighbors and friends to vote NO on this initiative if it goes to a very expensive vote. Local citizens worked hard for months to get input on what Oceanside needs. It’s shameful that this group and Ms Sanchez derailed that effort.

  4. Imho 2 days ago

    Councilmember Sanchez has a lot of nerve contributing to the drafting of this “trade associations” initiative when she’s spent her entire council career turning her back on Oceanside’s patients in need. And then to claim she doesn’t support it?! Absolutely laughable. Seriously, who does she sell this to? Let me guess … 24.1% of the voters and The Coast News … outstanding!

    And while we’re keeping it real, this proposed initiative doesn’t consider churches and parks to be protected sensitive uses as is suggested in this article. It’s bad enough we’re being threatened with a special election to the taxpayer tune of roughly $750,000, please don’t make the proposal look better than it is.

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