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Del Mar Pot Dispensary Defies City Effort to Close it

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DEL MAR – Del Mar's first medical marijuana dispensary may be nipped in the bud fast.

Patrick Kennedy opened the 1105 Cooperative, a nondescript dispensary virtually across the street from Del Mar City Hall, on March 31. At 5 p.m. that same day, a city staffer hand-delivered him a letter denying his business license application. The letter said the city rejected the license because marijuana dispensaries are not allowed under current zoning codes. Kennedy contends that dispensaries are legal under state law, and he should not be denied a right to operate one.

"The voters in California voted this in. If they don't want it, they should change the law and I'll leave today," Kennedy said.

Despite the denial, the 1105 Co-op, named for its address at 1105 Camino del Mar, is still open for business. City Attorney Leslie Devaney said Del Mar's code enforcement could fine Kennedy and, if he refuses to close, take him to court to have a judge force him to cease operating.

Kennedy said he opened the co-op last week because he believed his actual application, dated Feb. 8, served as a temporary business license until he got his permanent one. But a Feb. 25 letter from Del Mar Planner Adam Birnbaum to Kennedy informed him that his application was on hold because the city found out he intended to open a marijuana dispensary, which is not code compliant.

Kennedy said he would appeal the decision to the City Council, which could vote to alter codes to allow the dispensary.

"It doesn't strike me as a community that's full of potential customers," Mayor Don Mosier said. "I'm not taking a position that the state is wrong to allow medical marijuana."

Kennedy said he opened the co-op to provide legitimate patients a discreet place to obtain their medication. He said he would not decorate the outside of the building, so its presence will remain unknown to non-users. Patients have to be buzzed through a security door in the entryway before they can even see the glass cases displaying cannabis.

"I want to fully respect the neighborhood and so we make decisions that will help them feel comfortable about it," Kennedy said. "No member of the public is ever going to know what's going on in here."

Californians voted to legalize medicinal cannabis in 1996. However, medical marijuana is still illegal under federal laws. Devaney said the state law allows the "use" of medical marijuana, but the question of how someone gets it is different. She said courts have held that cities have the authority to tightly regulate medical marijuana co-ops.

Kennedy, 55, a solar panel contractor and Escondido resident, said the dispensary is open between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., a time best suited for actual medicinal marijuana patients and not recreational users.

"I'm not interested in that clientele," he said, adding that he did not support last year's voter-denied state legislation to legalize marijuana across the board. "I think of the way Budweiser promotes beer with bikinis and all the rest. If you gave marijuana to Pfizer, how would they promote it?"

Several north county cities have taken steps to curtail medical marijuana dispensaries. The Carlsbad City Council in 2009 passed an ordinance that bans the issuance of business licenses to any operation that is contrary to local, state, or federal law. The Oceanside City Council passed a moratorium in 2009 banning all dispensaries.

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: signonsandiego.com
Author: Jonathan Horn
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC
Website: Del Mar pot dispensary defies city effort to close it
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