Garden Grove Drops Pot Dispensary Ban, Starts Registration
GARDEN GROVE –
Medical marijuana dispensaries must register with the city or they will not be able to operate, according to a new ordinance passed by council members Tuesday night.
The City Council voted 5-0 in favor of the ordinance, which city officials say will not only help regulate the number of pot dispensaries in the city but also ensure that they are located in commercial zones as opposed to residential or school zones.
Garden Grove city council members unanimously passed an ordinance, which will require all medical marijuana dispensaries in the city to be registered in order to operate. The city estimates that there are about 30 dispensaries currently operating in Garden Grove despite a ban that was passed in 2008.
Senior Planner Erin Webb said the ordinance will go into effect immediately and only those dispensaries that have registered with the city can be potentially eligible for a future permit. About 30 medical marijuana dispensaries are operating in Garden Grove, she said. The ordinance will also effectively deter illegal operations from sprouting in different parts of the city, she said.
Council members said they support the registration process.
“This is needed for our city to have some control over the facilities and to make sure our children and families are protected from illegal activities,” said Councilwoman Dina Nguyen. “Unless we define what is legal or illegal, it will not be possible for police to enforce the law.”
Longtime resident Verla Lambert asked the council how the city intends to enforce the ordinance.
“With more business licenses, the city will get more revenue,” she said. “But you will also need to hire more people to enforce these codes. We’ve worked hard to keep this environment drug-free. If it has to be done, we better do it right.”