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Wildomar Takes Marijuana Lead From O.C. Retirement Community


Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
Wildomar and the city of Laguna Woods have something in common, but it's not apparent at first glance.

A bucolic spot in Orange County that's attractive to seniors, the average age of Laguna Woods residents is 78, and 90 percent of the city's 4-square miles is contained within the senior citizen gated community of Laguna Woods Village (formerly called Leisure World). There are three additional senior residential communities in Laguna Woods as well.

While Wildomar demographics may reflect a slighter younger resident base, there is a common thread: Laguna Woods allows the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries to serve its residents and Wildomar may follow suit.

Wildomar made history in Southwest Riverside April 28 when city council members voted 4-1 in favor of passing a motion to adopt the Laguna Woods medical marijuana ordinance to allow cannabis operations inside its boundaries. Existing city zoning ordinances currently prohibit marijuana businesses of any kind to operate in Wildomar.

Once adopted, and if passed by council member vote, the new ordinance would establish Wildomar as the only Southwest Riverside city – and only the second city in Riverside County besides Palm Springs – to allow medical marijuana operations.

Under Proposition 215, which was passed into California State Law back in 1996 and became known as the Compassionate Use Act, criminal penalties were removed for the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a physician's "written or oral recommendation."

As a result of the California law, cities in the state have been under pressure by medical marijuana activists to allow for safe access. The courts are taking up the issue, most notably is the ongoing case of Qualified Patients Association v. City of Anaheim, which is challenging Anaheim's ban on medical marijuana.

"We don't know how that case will be decided, but it could set an important precedent," said Wildomar City Attorney Julie Hayward Biggs during Wednesday's council meeting.

Rather than risk an expensive legal battle of its own, Wildomar is following Laguna Woods' lead, which, according to Laguna Woods' medical marijuana ordinance, "is to allow the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries within the boundaries of the City of Laguna Woods to serve the bona fide medical needs of the residents of the City as provided by state law."

Although Wildomar has the ability to augment the Laguna Woods ordinance as it sees fit, it's unlikely many changes will be made. During Wednesday's council meeting, members agreed that the cost of rewriting a new ordinance, or making significant changes to an existing one, could be costly.

The Laguna Woods ordinance best fit Wildomar's needs, said Councilwoman Sheryl Ade during Wednesday's meeting.

And according to the City Attorney Hayward Biggs, whose firm represents the city of Laguna Woods, minor changes to an existing ordinance would probably be the least costly way to proceed.

"It is a relatively simple thing. There is not a significant cost," she said.

If Wildomar adopts the Laguna Woods ordinance in whole, residents can expect specific standards on where medical marijuana dispensaries can locate within the city.

According to the Laguna Woods ordinance, "A medical marijuana dispensary shall not be established or located within 1,000 feet of another medical marijuana dispensary, any school, daycare, nursery, playground, or property zoned planned, or otherwise designated for such use."

Additionally, the ordinance specifies that, "A medical marijuana dispensary shall not be established or located within 1,000 feet of a youth-oriented establishment, or an establishment that provides youth-oriented services characterized by either or both of the following: A) The establishment advertises in a manner that identifies the establishment as catering to or providing services intended for minors; or B) The individuals who regularly patronize, congregate or assemble at the establishment are predominantly minors."

The Laguna Woods ordinance also details application and permitting processes, operational requirements, medical marijuana facility layout specifications, security measures, allowable activities and enforcement of such activities.

NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Southwest Riverside News Network
Author: Toni McAllister
Contact: Southwest Riverside News Network
Copyright: 2010 Southwest Riverside News Network, LLC
Website: Wildomar takes marijuana lead from O.C. retirement community

Happy Kitty

Well-Known Member
Laguna Woods is a great example of people of all ages who believe in the medicinal benefits of cannabis. It would be interesting to know the average age of the patients that visit the dispensaries there. :popcorn:
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