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New guidelines for permitting medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego, California were passed, almost unanimously, by the city council in February 2014.  The first permit was granted under the new terms and conditions on Wednesday. A maximum of 36 dispensary permits will be granted.

A Green Alternative is the name of the first dispensary granted operating rights, and it will be opening in Otay Mesa as soon as possible, with high hopes for the grand opening before the end of the year. During the meeting in which the permit was granted to the facility, Chief Operating Officer Zachary Lazarus addressed the city council,

“We will operate ethically and serve this community with the best intentions to help patients in need of medical grade cannabis.”

The newly adopted regulations allow only four dispensaries to operate in each one of the city council districts. Each dispensary must apply and be approved for two permits. The first of which is the Conditional Use Permit, which is approved by the city council. This permit is valid for five years from the approval date. The second permit is the Annual Public Safety Permit must be applied for through the San Diego Police Department.

There are strict zoning guidelines to follow regarding dispensary locations. No collectives are permitted to operate within 1,000 feet of public schools, parks, churches, playgrounds, child care centers, or residential care facilities. Similarly, no dispensary will be permitted to operate within 100 feet of residential zones.

photo credit: Dank Depot

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