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Final vote allows medical marijuana delivery

OCEANSIDE — The City Council gave final approval to medical marijuana delivery from licensed dispensaries outside the city, making Oceanside the first North County city to provide patients access.

Approval of the ordinance amendment on Wednesday received a 3-2 vote. Mayor Jim Wood and Councilman Jack Feller voted no.

Council members who supported delivery services said they stand against marijuana dispensaries and commercial cultivation within the city, and see delivery as a legal way for Oceanside patients to obtain medication.

“Dispensaries are not a part of this,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said. “We want to offer some relief to residents and veterans (who need medical marijuana). That’s what I’m supporting here.”

Oceanside has closed down 12 dispensaries, and gotten settlements of up to $500,000 from the illegal storefronts.

City regulations require delivery services obtain an Oceanside business license and permit from another city to operate as a dispensary.

Drivers must be 21 or older, pass a criminal background check, and have no DUI convictions for seven years. They must also carry $1 million in driver liability insurance, and transport no more than eight ounces of marijuana.

The allowable amount drivers can transport may decrease when state regulations are finalized. The city’s allowance will not exceed the state amount. City Attorney John Mullen said Goleta, Calif. limits medical marijuana transportation to one ounce, which is enough for about four patients.

David and Amber Newman, owners of a marijuana nursery, told the council that dispensaries are needed within the city. Amber Newman said she spoke with seven dispensaries and they all said they could not operate under Oceanside’s delivery rules due to high insurance requirements and low transport amounts.

Mullen said he has not heard complaints.

“I haven’t had one dispensary tell me it’s unreasonable,” Mullen said.

Councilman Jerry Kern said operating in Oceanside would be a business decision delivery services would need to make.

“I’m not going to change the ordinance to make it easy,” Kern said. “We’re trying to afford relief to some people who really need this.”

Following council approval a dozen students, from Oceanside High School’s Be the Resistance and El Camino High School’s Rise Above clubs, opposed the decision during the meeting’s public comments. Students stood together at the podium and held signs with “say no” messages. They said city regulations do not ensure consistency of the drug, and may allow easier access for youth.

The City Council members on both sides of the vote commended the students for speaking.

Sanchez said the hope is that delivery services do not impact youth.

Feller said the speakers stand for their generation.

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