Solana Beach bans medical marijuana

Solana Beach has banned medical marijuana cultivation, deliveries and dispensaries.

The City Council on Jan. 13 voted unanimously to prohibit all three medical marijuana distribution methods throughout the city.

The city needed to take action before March, when laws passed last year by the California State Legislature would allow the state to step in and regulate medical marijuana. In recent weeks, cities throughout San Diego County have adopted new rules or strengthened ordinances already in place to maintain local control and ensure that the cultivation of medical marijuana and medical marijuana dispensaries won’t be allowed in their communities.

“You’re reacting to something very important, before the state imposes something with regard to this marijuana issue, on this city,” said former Mayor Joe Kellejian, He was among five speakers who asked the council to approve the ban.

The state passed a series of bills in September, collectively referred to as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, that established a licensing system for medical marijuana cultivation, delivery and dispensing activities throughout the state. Cities that don’t have rules in place by March 1 will be subject to state guidelines.

In November 2012, Solana Beach voters defeated a citizens initiative that would have allowed medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. Faced with the state’s new laws, the council on Dec. 9 directed city staff to prepare an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana cultivation, deliveries and dispensaries in Solana Beach.

The ordinance is intended to regulate commercial activities.

Under California Senate Bill 420, also known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act, patients will still be able to drive to an authorized dispensary in another city and bring medical marijuana back to their homes in Solana Beach. Primary caregivers will also still be able to transport and deliver medical marijuana to their patients.