Escondido stands firm: No cannabis

After voting in the city council last week, Escondido’s ban on legal marijuana pharmacies remains in force.

The Council’s 3-2 decision is that residents of Escondido continue to travel to other neighboring cities to obtain medical or recreational cannabis, or order cannabis from delivery services permitted by state law. Means you need to.

“We need to hold the course and maintain the ban in the city of Escondido,” said city council member Mike Morasco. Mayor Paul McNamara and Councilor Consuelo Martinez supported holding a public meeting with a group of stakeholders to discuss the lifting of the ban.

“It’s a balance. We’re not going to stop it, it stays here, I think it’s time to legalize it,” McNamara said.

Public opinion seems to have changed since the March council, where Morasco called for a postponement of the debate. Of the 131 comments received when public comments were submitted in writing when the council effectively met at the March meeting, 110 supported legalization and 21 opposed.

At a direct Wednesday meeting, most speakers (13 out of 17 in total) opposed the legalization of marijuana pharmacies. Some opponents are wearing matching light blue T-shirts, and the drug-free Escondido Union has posted a “call for action” on its Facebook page to those who oppose the clinic to the meeting. Encouraged to attend.

Despite evidence of support for maintaining the status quo, the majority of Escondido residents appear to support legalized marijuana. City officials reported that 52% of city residents voted for Proposal 64, a 2016 state-wide initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California. Last year’s survey of urban dwellers showed “general support for commercial cannabis sales,” the report said.

Of the 19 jurisdictions in San Diego County, including 18 cities and counties, 10 permit the sale of medicinal and / or recreational cannabis, the report said. The county’s supervisory board recently decided to allow recreational sales in unincorporated areas.

Opponents who allowed dispenseries focused primarily on the potential adverse effects on teens and young adults. Staff reports that Escondido Education COMPACT, which implements a detour program that allows minors to circumvent the criminal justice system for misdemeanors, has increased arrests of young people for possession of marijuana by 311 percent since the passage of Proposal 64. Stated. The arrest occurred on the school campus.

Sandy Velasco, a youth leader in the drug-free community coalition, said young people can already buy marijuana on social media or easily get cards that can be purchased from medical marijuana pharmacies.

“What you can do is not spread more drugs and crime to Escondido. I don’t think pharmacies will make Escondido a better place,” she said.

Daisy Ponce, 11thA graduate of Pasqual High School said: Escondido cannabis stores only further normalize marijuana use. “

Those who supported permitting pharmacies said the move would bring the city the income it needed and would allow people in need of medicated medicine to buy it safely near their homes. It was.

“Today, you definitely need to consider moving forward with your plans,” said Sean Flory. “It doesn’t solve all our economic problems, but we believe it helps.”

“The ban on cannabis will force citizens with chronic pain and other illnesses to travel for 20 to 30 minutes,” said Leyel Malave. “This is a completely unjustified law.”

City council member Joe Garcia said his wife had recently died of cancer and considered using marijuana as a pain reliever.

“I have something in my heart for those who need to feel some relief for their situation,” Garcia said.

However, statistics on the arrest of youth in marijuana, increased arrests for marijuana-related drunk driving compiled by police, and questions about user prevention and funding of rehab services convinced him that the ban should be maintained. I was allowed to.

Councilor Consuelo Martinez said both sides were enthusiastic about their position. But she argued that if the council took no action, marijuana supporters would take the lead in city ballots as they did in other cities. In that case, she said, the city would lose control of the rules for running clinics in the city.

“We are joining hands and burying our heads in the sand,” Martinez said. Eventually there will be ballots, she said, and the city will not be able to regulate the number of clinics and the types of clinics allowed.

“At least if we have discussions and involve all stakeholders, everyone with vested interests, we can come up with an acceptable agreement to address youth access concerns,” she said. ..

But Morasco said the city didn’t want a clinic and was confident that voters would reject any action taken on the ballot.

Morasco said it was independent of the potential income from the clinic. City officials estimated that the five clinics could reach $ 2.3 million a year when they went live.

“I don’t care about the single tax from cannabis. I don’t care if we get the single tax from cannabis. For example, I don’t care if we get the single tax from prostitution, gambling, etc. I don’t. “Morasco said.

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