Commission supports legal medical marijuana for Oceanside

An Oceanside ordinance that would allow the cultivation, manufacture and sale of medical marijuana received an enthusiastic and unanimous endorsement this week from the city’s Planning Commission.

Several commissioners even suggested taking the proposal further, by allowing larger areas for nurseries and more dispensaries where medical cannabis and related products could be sold to the public. They also pointed out that many residents support the use of recreational marijuana, which is not allowed under the proposal.

“This is a good start, with this ordinance,” said Commissioner Kyle Krahel-Frolander, but added, “I would like to see a more bold and forward-thinking approach.”

The commission’s decision Monday night is only a recommendation to the City Council, which will consider the ordinance after a presentation and public hearing at its March 28 meeting.

Approval by the council is far from guaranteed.

The council agreed in December to have city staffers prepare the ordinance, but on a 3-1 vote, with Councilwoman Esther Sanchez opposed. Councilman Jack Feller reluctantly voted aye only after staffers agreed that the ordinance would allow only medical marijuana and not recreational uses.

Another factor in the upcoming decision is the council’s newest member. The four elected officials appointed former city manager Peter Weiss as mayor in January to fill the vacant seat of former Mayor Jim Wood, who retired because of lingering health problems. Weiss has not indicated whether he would support the proposal.

Both the city’s police chief and fire chief have gone on record opposing any legalization.

Among the concerns listed by Police Chief Frank McCoy are an increased potential for crime, easier access to marijuana for juveniles, lingering ties to the black market and criminal gangs, and the costs to his department for additional labor and enforcement.

Fire Chief Rick Robinson’s concerns include medical emergencies with

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