After years in legal limbo, the San Diego City Council is once again tackling the issue of legal regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.

proposed ordinance from Mayor Bob Filner will beintroduced to the council today. It would impose restrictions on the location of dispensaries and impose fees and taxes.

This is the first attempt to provide guidelines for medical marijuana outlets in San Diego since 2011.

A pair of ordinances that determined where dispensaries would be located and how they would be operated were enacted in 2011, but medical marijuana advocates considered them too strict and collected enough petition signatures to get them rescinded.

In the absence of those ordinances, marijuana dispensaries became illegal, and the city closed down some 100 of them. The U.S. Attorney's Office also has been targeting marijuana outlets.

Returning dispensaries to legal status has been a major priority of Mayor Bob Filner since he took office in December.

In January, the mayor, City Council and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith agreed to continue enforcing zoning violations by medical marijuana dispensaries while an ordinance is developed.

In a memo last week, Goldsmith said the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department has not referred any cases to his office since the agreement was reached. During that time, at least 20 dispensaries have opened illegally, he said.

The documents said city staff is looking for direction on permit fees and whether to prohibit marijuana vending machines, among other things.

In a separate memo, Goldsmith said the City Council should consider postponing decisions on the topic since the state Supreme Court is scheduled to rule soon on a case that involves the power of municipalities to regulate dispensaries.




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