Vista looking at allowing medical pot shops

Vista looking at allowing medical pot shops

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Close up of a young marijuana plant. (Charlie Neuman) Vista ’s elected leaders might reverse their opposition to medical marijuana dispensaries, in the face of a potential ballot initiative that could force the city to allow the shops. The City Council on Tuesday night told city staffers to come up with a proposal to allow the dispensaries, including where they could go and how they might be regulated. The proposal is due by the end of April. If the city decides to allow medical marijuana dispensaries, Vista would become the first city in North County to do so. Vista now not only prohibits all marijuana businesses, it aggressively chases out illegal operations — closing 36 medical marijuana businesses and two grow houses since 2009. Some dispensaries later reopen. Councilman Joe Green brought up the possibility of approving medical pot shops, in order to provide “safe, reliable access” in the form of limited storefront access and delivery. “I want to make sure that we as a council are allowed to have a say,” Green said. Green’s push is a countermove. If the council voted to allow dispensaries on their own terms, it could serve as an end run around an outside effort to force the city to allow dispensaries. A group calling itself Vistans for Better Community Access — backed by two corporations with ties to the medical marijuana industry — soon will start recirculating a petition that would legalize a limited number of dispensaries in the city and set rules for regulating them. If they gather the signatures of 5,607 verified Vista voters — 15 percent of the city’s electorate — the initiative would go before the City Council. If the City Council rejects that initiative, it would have to schedule a special election at a cost of roughly […]

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