Mar 28, 2017 12:40 PM

San Diego County Communities to Open Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Two communities in San Diego County, California, are going to open medical marijuana dispensaries in the near future. Currently, Lemon Grove and La Mesa communities are conducting all the necessary legal and administrative preparations to open these retail stores to the public.

The voters in these communities approved the operation of dispensaries within the city limits last November. The adopted local measures obliged Lemon Grove and La Mesa to make amendments to the municipal codes and create permit processes.

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Lemon Grove has more than 26,000 residents, so the city will open a maximum of three medical marijuana dispensaries. La Mesa's population reaches 59,000 people, but the city has not defined the exact number of pot stores yet.

The number of dispensaries in La Mesa will depend on the proximity to public places, such as parks, schools, playgrounds, and health-care facilities. Lemon Grove is also taking these sensitive zones into consideration when mapping the dispensaries.

La Mesa is now accepting applications for dispensary licenses and has already received 12 requests with locations according to the zoning requirements. Two sites on Center Street have requested permits for marijuana growing and producing. Other applications concerned the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries on El Cajon Boulevard, University Avenue, Parkway Drive, and La Mesa Boulevard.

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Starting next week, Lemon Grove will begin to accept permit requests for local dispensaries and consider them in the order of submission. The city is going to open the first dispensary in late summer.

Though the cities will not collect taxes from medical marijuana sales, they will charge certain fees for dispensary licensing and inspection.

For instance, Lemon Grove will have the authority to collect a quarterly fee per patient, payments for annual inspections and fire services, as well as charges for a location approval and permit issue.

Besides MMJ dispensaries, patients in La Mesa will also have the right to grow weed within their private properties.

Unfortunately, the two cities have banned the operation of recreational pot shops despite California's legalization of marijuana for adult use.

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