Community planners oppose medical marijuana shops in La Jolla

The yellow on this map represents mix-use areas in La Jolla where medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed to open under a revised medical marijuana ordinance the city council will consider April 22. Dispensaries would mostly be permitted along La Jolla Boulevard, from Bird Rock north to Pearl Street.

Voice your opinion: Should the city council adopt an ordinance allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to open in La Jolla and elsewhere in San Diego?
Contact Mayor Bob Filner: (619) 236-6330 or
Contact Councilmember Sherri Lightner: (619) 236-6611 or

City Council hearing on medical marijuana ordinance: 2 p.m., Monday April 22, City Administration Building, 202 C St. (12th floor)


By Pat Sherman

La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) trustees at an April 4 meeting voiced strong opposition to Mayor Bob Filner’s proposal to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to open in La Jolla and elsewhere in San Diego.

Storefronts with green crosses advertising marijuana sales flourished citywide in 2010 and 2011, including several within the same mixed-use zone of La Jolla where the mayor is proposing to allow dispensaries — mainly along La Jolla Boulevard, from Bird Rock north to Pearl Street.

During the meeting District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner notified trustees of the city council’s upcoming vote on the revised zoning ordinance allowing dispensaries, 2 p.m. April 22 in San Diego City Council chambers.

“The city council did approve a (draft) medical marijuana ordinance in 2011 that limited medical marijuana dispensaries to industrial zones,” Lightner explained. “That meant that most of District 1 would not be capable of having any medical marijuana dispensaries, and certainly in La Jolla they were prohibited in all areas.”

However, Lightner said medical marijuana advocates and opponents thought the ordinance was “either too loose or too restrictive” and gathered enough signatures to force a (ballot) referendum. “Rather than spending the money on a referendum, we rescinded the ordinance,” she said.

In January, Filner announced the city would issue a revised ordinance allowing dispensaries in more pockets of San Diego than previously proposed — including Zone 4 of La Jolla’s Planned District Ordinance.

LJCPA vice-chair Joe LaCava said he lived halfway between two marijuana dispensaries that were open in La Jolla in 2010-2011 and found one of them to be “as quiet and benign as possible,” and the other to be a magnet for robberies, alcohol and other drug use.

“If you can get it in the hands of the people who really need it and do it in a quiet and inoffensive way, maybe that’s what the state law intended,” LaCava said, referring to the voter- approved Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which made marijuana use legal in California with a doctor’s recommendation. “If you’re going to be an idiot, I want you shut down.”

LJCPA member Mike Costello told the trustees the ordinance would allow for dispensaries to open next to homes with young children, which he said would cause a “great deal of disruption.”

After much discussion, the LJCPA voted to approve a list of recommendations on the proposed ordinance. These included, in part:

• The ordinance should proceed through the usual review process, including all community planning groups and the community planners committee.

• The ordinance should retain distance separations for churches, libraries and youth-oriented facilities suggested in the more restrictive ordinance proposed in 2011.

• Increase the minimum distance between medical marijuana cooperatives (dispensaries) from 600 to 1,320 feet.

• Medial marijuana consumer cooperatives shall not be located on a premises that includes residential use or is zoned for residential use (since there are areas where an industrial use is permitted between two houses).

• Eliminate PDO Zone 4 in La Jolla as an allowable area for dispensaries to operate.

• Prohibit medical marijuana vending machines.

The LJCPA also approved a motion stating it is in agreement with federal law, which prohibits medical marijuana use, and opposed to current state law allowing it.

If the zoning changes are approved, LaCava said the LJCPA should work to assure the state’s medical marijuana law is applied “in a way that it gets to the right people in a safe way, and that everybody else is protected from the unintended consequences.”

District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner (left) administers the oath of office to newly elected La jolla Community Planning Association trustees Ray Weiss, Helen Boyden, Janie Emerson, Myrna Naegle and Patrick Ahern (not pictured are new trustees Gail Forbes, Bob Steck and Frances O’Neill Zimmerman).

In other LJCPA news

Shores lifeguard tower: Lightner announced that lifeguards would be moving into the new tower at La Jolla Shores this month, and that the old tower will be demolished by Memorial Day (May 27).

Oversized vehicle ordinance: Trustee Phil Merten questioned whether a pilot oversized and recreational vehicle ordinance, to be conducted in La Jolla and adjoining coastal communities, would require a permit to park an oversized vehicle overnight.

Lightner said that was part of the proposal, though she has requested that residents be able to obtain oversized vehicle permits online, an option not currently available.

“They are trying to make provisions to make it a split permit, so that you could get one permit for the in-and-out,” she said. “It is going to be very interesting to see how enforceable it is, given there are a lot of tools already on the books that aren’t being enforced right now. Some of the exemptions that were requested at the last minute include U-Haul vans, which I know we’ve had problems in The Shores with the commercial enterprises using those to store stuff.”

Graywater rules: The city council will consider a list of graywater recommendations this month, Lightner said. The recommendations will make it easier for some homeowners to install systems that allow untreated water from showers, bathtubs, sinks and washing machines to be reused for landscaping.

Bylaw amendments: It was noted that changes to the LJCPA bylaws approved by members last month have not yet been approved by the city.

Following a lengthy discussion, trustees voted to approve President Crisafi’s April 4 appeal of permit amendments for a home at 7940 Costebelle Way.

During its February meeting, LJCPA trustees denied the proposed amendments to an existing site development permit for the long-stalled residential development near Pottery Canyon. Trustees cited issues with the project’s bulk and scale, and nonconformity with the surrounding neighborhood.

On April 4, a city hearing officer approved the permit amendments. Crisafi said he was not initially inclined to file an appeal of the hearing officer’s decision until notified by trustees David Little and Phil Merten that, as president, he did not have a choice, and must appeal the project.

After a consultation with staff in the city attorney’s office and San Diego City Senior Planner Leslie Henegar, Crisafi said he was compelled to file the appeal on behalf of the community and LJCPA trustees.

Related posts:

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  2. La Jolla Community Planning Association elects new board members, approves bylaw amendments
  3. UPDATED (Jan. 25): Webcam to monitor seals installed at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  4. Events net 100 letters urging Issa to help save post office
  5. La Jolla’s Town Council, Planning Association discuss pending issues

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Posted by Pat Sherman on Apr 9, 2013. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Community planners oppose medical marijuana shops in La Jolla”

  1. What is amazing is that so few know about the body chemistry involved.

    There are more endocannabinoid receptors in the body than any other receptor type. The endocannabinoid system is a major regulator in the body implicated in almost all diseases including cancer.

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