In November, voters in Morro Bay will weigh in on one of the city’s most contentious issues: whether medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed.
Opponents of the dispensaries gathered enough signatures to put the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Medical marijuana is allowed under Proposition 215, which California voters approved in 1996. But many communities have been banning dispensaries.
The wording of the Morro Bay measure categorically prohibits them.
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“Medical marijuana dispensaries are prohibited in all zoning districts within the City of Morro Bay,” it reads. “No use permit, variance, business license or other applicable entitlement or approval will be accepted, approved or issued by the City of Morro Bay for the establishment or operation of a medical marijuana dispensary.”
A “yes” vote on the measure is a vote to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, said Bridgett Kessling, city clerk.
Morro Bay is one of the only communities in San Luis Obispo County to embrace the idea of businesses selling medical marijuana.
Mayor Janice Peters and others on the council have said dispensaries would fill a need in the community for people with terminal or serious illnesses who may want marijuana to relieve their symptoms.
Morro Bay previously had a dispensary, operated by Charles Lynch of Arroyo Grande. He was arrested and prosecuted in federal court. Federal law still bars all marijuana use.
Since then, the Obama administration has said it will not prosecute marijuana dispensaries in states such as California, where they are legal.
In March, the City Council voted to move ahead with drafting regulations that would allow dispensaries in the city.
Critics claim that the dispensaries would bring a criminal element to the city. Peters has noted at public meetings that she sees no evidence of this.