Chula Vista to consider legalizing pot shops

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - While recreational marijuana dispensaries are legal in the City of San Diego, they have remained off-limits in Chula Vista. That could change, if an ordinance being introduced at the Chula Vista City Council meeting Tuesday passes.

The ordinance would allow the City to permit, license and regulate commercial cannabis.

California voters approved the recreational use of marijuana in 2016, but selling it is still illegal in Chula Vista. The City is struggling to deal with existing pot shops.

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In September, Councilman Mike Diaz called for a local state of emergency to deal with the dispensaries, saying there were more illegal pot shops in his District 4 than Starbucks cafes or 7-Elevens.

“As we come up with new ways to evict these folks they come up with other ways to keep their businesses running,” Diaz said. “The problem here is there’s so much money in the marijuana business, the cannabis business that they have the top attorneys. Our City Attorney fights these cases as a civil matter.  We need to change that and make it a criminal matter.”

RELATED: Local councilman wants to declare state of emergency over pot shops

A search of WeedMaps.com shows six marijuana stores in Chula Vista and Eastlake. The Chula Vista locations are open 24 hours a day. Another four shops were listed on Google Maps. 

10News spoke with Jerry, the manager of a Third Ave. business who had mixed experiences with three nearby pot shops. He said one shop was a good neighbor but another was "horrible", and nearly led to a physical confrontation.

The marijuana issue will be discussed at Tuesday night's Chula Vista City Council meeting.  If it is approved, Chula Vista voters would still need to approve a cannabis tax on the June ballot that would pay for all the new changes, processes, and enforcement.

Sales would legally begin in Chula Vista on January 1, 2019 if everything is approved by the council and voters.

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