Debate over medical marijuana in National City - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Debate over medical marijuana in National City

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The plan to ban medical marijuana cultivation went up in smoke in National City Monday night.

For nearly two hours, the National City Planning Commission heard both sides: fear of violence, and safe access for legal dispensaries to patients.

The National City Staff recommended the Planning Commission pass marijuana cultivation ban under California’s new “Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.”

“If we are going to ban something or prohibit something for medicinal use I think we should have an answer for some background or context where do expect those patients to go to,” said Marcus Bush, the National City Planning Commission Chair.

Plans to allow regulated grows could be in place by March.

“Whether you allow cultivation tonight or not, you still can't access it in the city,” said the National City Planning Commissioner Maria De La Paz.

Currently, patients can access medical marijuana at licenses shops in the City of San Diego and cultivate 24 plants.

One of those licensed shops is A Green Alternative in Otay Mesa.

David Blair who is A Green Alternative’s owner said it is “all about science and medicine. Period.”

If cities do not pass a cultivation ordinance by March 1st, it will be up to the state to regulate. Commissioners are therefore pressing staff to draft an ordinance to regulate before the March deadline.

“We would set up guards inside the facility as well as outside the facility,” said Blair.

National City Police Lt. Graham Young said illegal pop shops are causing violence and fears, and with not much open land in National City, more indoor grows will attract crimes involving guns.

“It’s just another issue our city had to worry about,” said Lt. Graham Young.

One National City resident who supports the cultivation ban is Barbara Avalos. “I don't care how many lights you put up there. I don't care how many guards you put up there. It's going to happen. I’m totally against it," she said.

City staff said to meet the state's March deadline they must submit a draft ordinance to the Planning Commission by its next meeting in two weeks, and then to the City Council for a vote.

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