Saturday, August 09, 2014

Medical marijuana patients suing San Diego as driving to dispensaries will increase air pollution

Marijuana patients have claimed in court that San Diego and the California Coastal Commission will foul the air, snarl traffic and force people to grow marijuana indoors, wasting energy and increasing global warming, because of their wrongheaded decision to allow no more than 36 marijuana co-ops in the city. The Union of Medical Marijuana Patients sued the Coastal Commission and San Diego on August 1, in San Diego County Court.

The rather technical complaint challenges the Coastal Commission's June 11 approval of a San Diego city ordinance of March 25, which authorized medical marijuana co-ops in the city. The zoning-oriented ordinance allows medical marijuana co-ops only in certain industrial and commercial zones, and requires buffer zones between co-ops and residential areas. "The ordinance caps the total number of cooperatives at 36 and places a limit of four per Council District," the Los Angeles-based Union of Medical Marijuana Patients says in the lawsuit.

But because of the zoning restrictions, the union says, only 30 pot stores are "even possible" under the law. This "extremely restrictive approach" will require "thousands of patients to drive across the City of San Diego to obtain their medicine because cooperatives are only allowed in certain limited places in the city, which will create traffic and air pollution," the lawsuit states. It claims that the Coastal Commission, which had to approve the City Council ordinance under the California Environmental Quality Act, "failed to analyze the reasonably foreseeable consequences of increased indoor cultivation of medical marijuana" because of the restrictive zoning.

The union claims that it is "reasonably foreseeable" that indoor pot gardens will increase due to the restrictive ordinance. This will increase wastewater, biowaste and electrical consumption, environmental impacts "which the Commission failed to appreciate." The union also claims the defendants failed to conduct an adequate environmental assessment of their plan, which is required by CEQA, and it wants the approval of the plan set aside until it complies with CEQA, and costs.

No comments: