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Mainstreet Oceanside Morning Meeting

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There are no plans for cultivation or dispensaries of medical marijuana west of Interstate 5, a city official told MainStreet Oceanside Tuesday.“That’s most important for this group,” said Don Greene, aide to Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery and secretary for the committee that has been trying to hammer out a procedure for allowing medical marijuana sales in the city.”It’s more the rule than the exception,” Greene said, for cities, even (avant garde) San Francisco, to continue to outlaw adult-use (recreational) sales of marijuana. Greene was introduced by City Councilmember Jerry Kern who sits on the City’s Medical Marijuana Adhoc Committee.

The Oceanside City Council is expected to consider the proposed rules for medical marijuana Dec. 20, but Greene noted there’s apt to be a 2-2 vote (with Mayor Jim Wood on medical leave).

Greene outlined the steps that brought Oceanside to this point: Proposition 215 in 1996 legalized medical marijuana and Proposition 64 last November legalized recreational marijuana, also called adult-use marijuana.  It passed by 57 percent of the vote statewide and coincidentally 57 percent in Oceanside.

Senate Bill 94 this year combined the rules for medical and adult-use cannabis, and an Assembly Bill refined them even more. The city committee has been working on the matter for six months and has held eight public meetings and 12-13 organizational sessions for the committee itself. It has listened to experts in the industry and visited a marijuana-growing operation on the site of the old Santa Ysabel Casino. It has looked at all the zoning requirements in the city.

“First of all,” Greene said, showing a slide of previous head-shop paraphernalia stores, “what we don’t want to see is the whole image of the old pot shops.”

Instead, he showed pictures of “actual dispensaries” in Orange and Los Angeles counties and said they look “more like a medical office. ” “This really is the new face of the cannabis industry,” Greene said.

There are 18 different licenses that the state has to issue to such business, which he said amounts to $56 billion across the country.

New well-lit legal dispensaries may help, he said, to drive out illegal or shady operations that often deliver an “inferior product.”
Greene outlined strict rules to “track and trace” a plant by attaching a tag at its source and tracing that plant throughout its life, so its testing and whereabouts always are known. “Every gram of marijuana” will be tracked “its entire lifespan,” Greene said.

If the tracking has discrepancies, he said, a state audit automatically is triggered.

Greene said he expects legislation in 2020 to 2023 to tax the medical marijuana business.

He said large-scale cultivation will not happen until 2023 with only one area of the city – agriculturally zoned Morro Hills   – available for such an endeavor.But, he said, “unfortunately, with the new law, you can grow up to six plants in your backyard.”

The committee’s  proposal calls for distribution facilities in light-industrial and general industrial zones only and retail stores only in two specific close-to-highway locations.
Most uses would require “the  highest level of examination,” a Conditional-Use Permit from the city Planning Commission. But testing could be done in industrial and commercial zones only, with only an administrative permit from city staff. Still, he said, that means someone is looking at it.
In Oceanside’s plans, Greene said, dispensaries would be “highly regulated.”
Only one would be allowed for every 40,000 population, he said, meaning there could be no more than four in the city.
They could be open only from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with security personnel on site all that time and security cameras monitoring “every square inch” of the space 24/7.
And they have to be 1,000 feet from the likes of schools, playgrounds, parks and daycare and 500 to 1,000 feet from such other “sensitive uses” as bars or other dispensaries.
Dispensaries can sell the cannabis flower, bud, edible product like brownies, wax, crumbles – “any kind” of product from the plant.
Currently, Oceanside allows no marijuana sales but does allow delivery of product purchased elsewhere. Councilman Jerry Kern said that’s the way he’s always voted.
But, he said, he’s aware that the majority of people have voted to legalize marijuana.
Kern said he’s not even sure that this proposal for medicinal marijuana only will stand up to future demand for recreational cannabis as well. “My job as a public official is to do the will of the people,”” Kern said.
But he advocated taking only “baby steps”  at present.
Kern spoke up against initiative petitions being circulated seeking an election to allow both medical and recreational marijuana sales in Oceanside.  He said if an initiative is passed and some aspects prove to be a mistake, it can only be changed by another vote of the people at a regular or (expensive) special election.
And, Greene noted, the initiative does not restrict dispensaries west of I-5. There could be three downtown, he said.
On the other hand, Kern said, if there are problems with a council-mandated ordinance, it can be changed by a vote of the council.
“We maintain our local control,” Greene said

Greene’s Powerpoint presentation is viewable online at the MainStreet Oceanside website:

In other business, conducted at the beginning of the meeting:
Rick Wright, MainStreet Executive Director, introduced Mike White, account manager for the Visit Oceanside visitor guide. “This thing is gold,” Wright said, urging businesses to advertise.  He said “a ton of these” are mailed to people even before they come to Oceanside and more are available once people get here.  White said 75,000 of the brochures are printed and they also are placed in local hotels.
Jenna Roripaugh from the city’s Green Oceanside program, told of the North County Food Policy Council’s “friend-raising” event from 4:30-7 p.m. today (Thursday) at 2870 Scott St. in Vista.  It’s not city-sponsored, but worthwhile, Roripaugh said.
Eileen Turk, city Parks and Recreation Division Manager, said the annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony will be held Dec. 7 in front of the Regal Cinemas, It’ll be “fun. fun, fun,” Turk said.
–Turk also said everyone should set their alarms early for a 4 a.m.start from El Corazon to the Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1.  “It’ll be an awesome trip,” she said. (It’s $200. Tickets and more information are available at 760-435-5250.)
Cathy Nykiel, manager of MainStreet’s Sunset Market, thanked everyone for their help with the Haunted Market.  She said there were “a lot of kids and a lot of volunteers.”
–Nykiel also reported on the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration at Mission San Luis Rey. She said there was “a great turnout” and a lot of community partners at the event, begun by MainStreet.
–She also reported that the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held December 7th in conjunction with the 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunset Market. That night Santa arrives on a firetruck to light the tree (located in front of the Regal Cinema) at 6:00pm. Nykiel said that there will be extra activities for families – a zip line, palm tree climbing and, of course, Santa a cookies and milk. Nykiel also reminded everyone that the Sunset Market is the perfect “one-stop shop” to provide “a gift for someone you have no idea what to get.
–Nykiel also reported on the collection of children’s books on behalf of Oceanside Promise and said that MainStreet will soon be collecting toys for children at Balderrama Park through North County Community Services and Solutions for Change.  Youngsters will write the gift they seek on a paper ornament.
–Nykiel said the Winter Ball for seniors is scheduled Dec. 10, the menorah will be lit at City Hall in Dec. 12, and the model trains at Heritage Park will be available for children to play five upcoming Saturdays. She also mentioned the Rose Bowl trip.
Cerina De Souza, Marketing Manager for Visit Oceanside, said it is expecting a high occupancy of hotel rooms this weekend, over Thanksgiving and the first weekend in December, in large part due to events at the SoCal Sports Complex at El Corazon.
Gumaro Escarcega, MainStreet Program Manager, talked about the Shop Local program, in conjunction with Visit Oceanside and the Chamber of Commerce, Nov. 25-Dec. 22. Shoppers will carry “passports”  and be eligible for prizes, including gift cards and clothing. Gift packages are worth $25-$50, he said.  Escarcega told businesses “there are a lot of incentives to be part of this event.” On the 25th and 26th, he said, there will be a Merry Makers Fair.
–Escarcega also said there will be a citywide holiday window-decorating contest.
–Wright said more information is available on ShopLocalOceanside.com.  And, he said, for $100 that businesses provide in cash or trade “we will be spending a lot more than that.”  The program started last year, and Wright said “it was a huge amount of fun.” “We gave away a ton of stuff,” he said.
Patrick Young, city Special Events Supervisor, said there would be a strongman competition Saturday and the annual Turkey Trot Nov. 23.
–Also, Young said, the Pan American Games of beach handball will be played here March 6-11, ordinarily a slow time for tourists.  Preliminary games will be played at the harbor and medal games at the Junior Seau Pier Amphitheatre. (Beach handball is a relatively new variation of team handball, played worldwide and very popular in other countries, but no so here.  It is not the handball game that involves throwing a hard rubber ball against a wall.  It is a team game played soccer-like with a larger rubber ball that just fits into the hand and is thrown toward the goal).
–Kern said to Young, “I got a lot of tremendous feedback from the adaptive surf contest” held recently.  Some of the competitors were paraplegic or blind, Kern said, and it was particularly scary when a quadriplegic surfer “actually shot the pier.”
–Wright asked the owner (Rafael Prante) of the new gelato shop (Gelato-go) to tell about it.  Prante said he has a prime location in the 200 block of North Coast Highway and offers many kinds of gelato, made in house.  There was applause when Wright said “welcome to Oceanside.”
Police Sgt. Greg Stahley said the department’s annual dinner for volunteers will be held Dec.13 and could use some raffle prizes from local businesses.
–Escarcega said Linda Pina, who comes to most meetings, could not attend because her partner, Carla Werts – they run Carla and Linda’s Walking Food Tours – is fighting breast cancer and a fundraiser to help with expenses is being held all day Saturday at Urge Gastropub and Whiskey Bar and Mason Ale Works with proceeds from the Ale Works’ beer and a special menu going to help Werts.  Wright said this is a good chance for folks who’ve never been there to visit Urge at 2002 South Coast Highway.
The next MainStreet meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. December 5th in the organization’s headquarters at 701 Mission Avenue.

We welcome all parties interested in the progress of Downtown Oceanside, including businesspeople, residents, and City staff. This informative one hour meeting is held in an informal discussion format. The general public is always welcome! Meet your City officials, MainStreet Oceanside staff and members and find out about upcoming events and changes to YOUR downtown and city.

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  • Published: 1 year ago on November 10, 2017
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  • Last Modified: November 10, 2017 @ 12:04 am
  • Filed Under: North County

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