According to a new poll conducted by Competitive Edge Research & Communication (CERC), San Diegans want tough regulatory oversight for medical marijuana dispensaries, which are opening up throughout the city today with less restrictions than bars, liquor stores and traditional pharmacies.
The CERC poll, which surveyed 505 adults in the City of San Diego, found broad support generally for medical marijuana access. More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) believe that medical marijuana should be considered as any other prescription drug available to the public, and 77% of respondents either “agree strongly” or “agree somewhat” that government officials should provide local cannabis patients with convenient medical access. However, there is little tolerance for unregulated medical marijuana dispensaries, which is what we have today. When asked how the City of San Diego should approach dispensaries, 64% of respondents wanted dispensaries to be regulated, with the greatest support for strict control and heavy regulations.
The survey also found that a strong majority of San Diegans are in favor of prohibiting dispensaries from operating within residential neighborhoods (64%), requiring dispensaries from staying at least one thousand feet away from schools and youth facilities (83%), as well as fingerprinting and criminal background checks for dispensary employees
and managers (87%).
Furthermore, San Diegans do not want more marijuana dispensaries than the City can afford to regulate; nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) oppose increasing the number of existing dispensaries if additional law enforcement resources are needed to keep them safe and compliant with city laws. Poll respondents were also supportive of requiring all dispensaries to be not-for-profit (63%).
This issue has many implications for the San Diego City Council. Councilmember Marti Emerald is the Chairwoman of the Public Safety Committee, and has successfully pushed for the creation of a task force to create guidelines for land use, zoning, and law enforcement related to dispensaries and medical marijuana possession. All eyes will be on the initial dispensary zoning guidelines that the task force will recommend later this year to the Council, and whether Councilmembers find them acceptable, especially now that we know how the everyday public feels about this important issue.
The poll was in the field from October 14-17, and has a sampling error of +/- 4.4%. It can be found online here.