Lemon Grove residents should be very wary of anyone asking for signatures to support a special election to revise the city’s medical marijuana laws.
Lemon Grove passed Measure V, approving medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, by a mere 85 votes. Pot proponents now want – among other things – less community oversight, no protection for small day care facilities or church-based schools and the removal of any accountability for facilities in violation of the law and city ordinances.
Keep in mind that these marijuana businesses will pay no local taxes, and want the citizens of Lemon Grove to pay for a special election to the tune of $300,000.
The very same proponents who wrote the medical marijuana ordinance have now decided it’s too restrictive because it does not allow dispensaries to be located within 1,000 feet of a day care center or other sensitive uses like drug treatment facilities. They want to eliminate the safety distance for day care centers with less than 13 children and most church-based schools.
On top of those changes, they want to forbid public input on the permitting process and prohibit the revocation of any permits found in violation of the law or conditions of approval, eliminating a way for the community to deal with nuisance medical marijuana dispensaries.
If enough signatures are gathered and proponents get their revised ordinance on a special election ballot and voters approve it, it would open up the floodgates for medical marijuana dispensaries.
My question to my neighbors in Lemon Grove is this: How many medical marijuana dispensaries do we really need in our little town? Three dispensaries are moving forward and are on their way toward city approval. Do we really need more than that?
Because of the cash nature and the amount of money being made at these facilities, there are significant safety risks involved with medical marijuana dispensaries. Violent robberies, like those that have happened close by in Spring Valley, can happen at any legal or illegal facility.
Beyond concern for our own personal safety, we have a duty as a community to protect all of our children – rich or poor, at large day cares or small, public schools or private. We have a duty to preserve the rights of all of our citizens to have a voice in where and how any high-impact business in our town is approved – be it gas station, liquor store or medical marijuana dispensary.
Jerry Jones is a member of the Lemon Grove City Council. Jones’ commentary has been edited for style and clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here