Commissioners recommend allowing dispensaries, 3-2
September 09, 2011 1:54 PM
Beau Yarbrough
Staff Writer

If it were up to the Hesperia Planning Commission, the city would be granting business licenses to medical marijuana facilities.

In a split decision, the commission voted Thursday night to recommend that the Hesperia City Council pass a proposed code amendment put forward by a medical marijuana advocacy group.

“With the ban in place, we have 12 dispensaries and they’re not regulated,” commissioner Julie Jensen said. The city has had an ordinance banning medical marijuana distribution dispensaries since 2005. “Banning medical marijuana isn’t going to get rid of it.”

“That’s been our experience,” Principal Planner Dave Reno said.

In theory, the city could fine dispensaries away, as they can levy fines up to $500 a day on dispensaries and their landlords.

Commissioners and medical marijuana proponents pointed to the current dispensaries — all of which city officials say are operating without business licenses — as an untapped source of sales tax or separate special tax.

“You are going to be faced with a choice of making money off these things or spending money” fighting the dispensaries, resident John Douglas said.

Dozens of residents came out to the meeting to voice either their support or opposition to the proposal, which would be passed to the City Council for action later this fall no matter how the commissioners voted.

To read more about what residents and planning commissioners had to say, see the full story in Saturday’s Daily Press. Get the complete story every day with the “exactly as printed” Daily Press E-edition, only $5 per month! Click here to try it free for 7 days. To subscribe to the Daily Press in print or online, call (760) 241-7755, 1-800-553-2006 or click here.

The City Council is expected to take up the issue in October or November.

Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at