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Letter: Dispensary Location Appropriateness Vs. Patients’ Reasonable Safe Access:

Dear Editor,

Santa Monicans for Safe Access (SAMOSA) should like to comment on your article Santa Monica Zoning Ordinance Update Meetings: Childcare, Cannabis, Cars & Capacity published on April 17. Your article mentioned that the permissible areas where a medical marijuana dispensary might be located are, essentially, along Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvds. East of Lincoln. In fact, it is far more restrictive than that.

Dispensaries may not locate near any sensitive uses (e.g., schools, parks, etc.). SAMOSA should like to point out that the proximity rules for dispensaries are far more strict than the rules for adult-oriented or alcohol stores, for example. While those types of stores have a proximity restriction of only 500′, dispensaries have a restriction of 600′. Additionally, while we are not aware of any “buffer” requirement applicable to those types of stores, SAMOSA does support a 1,000 buffer rule between the two allowable dispensaries. Given the great density of sensitive uses throughout the City, most of the areas along Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvds. where a dispensary might locate are in fact excluded. Surely, this represents a fair, reasonable and compassionate balance between patients’ safe access versus location appropriateness.

Finally, the vast majority of Santa Monicans consider these rules for dispensaries to be considerate yet reasonable. For example, at the Council meeting on April 14 we read into the record a letter written by Thomas Landau which he sent to the Council in late 2013. Mr. Landau said, in part, ” I have lived, worked, conducted business, built a home in Santa Monica Canyon and raised 3 children in and around Santa Monica for more than 40 years. The purpose of this letter is to urge you to adopt reasonable regulations to allow medical marijuana facilities within our City.” His architectural firm built in Santa Monica alone the Sea Colony, the MTV Building, the Milken Building and many other landmark buildings (not to mention the tallest building in the world in Dubai). When he wrote his letter, he was suffering from cancer. He died about a year after writing his letter. Medical marijuana gave him a great amount of relief from his suffering in his final years. As his friend, Mr. Landau expressed to me often his bewilderment and burden over why he couldn’t have safe local access. [Editor, we previously sent you Mr. Landau’s letter.]

Like this great Santa Monican – Mr. Landau – countless other resident-patients live, work and raise their children in Santa Monica. Having just two dispensaries along Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvds. East of Lincoln coupled with the very restrictive proximity to sensitive uses and a 1,000′ buffer between them isn’t unreasonable or insensitive – is it?

Sincerely,

Bill Leahy

in Opinion
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