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La Mesa City Council approves cannabis dispensary, but not everyone is happy

White House hints at enforcing federal marijuana law in all states
Posted at 5:26 PM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 22:07:44-04

LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) — Tuesday night, La Mesa City Council moved forward with approving a new cannabis dispensary to be placed in a residential neighborhood.

Back in February, the council denied the request. The dispensary, Urbn Leaf, then went back to the drawing board and will now move forward with the project.

But it does not come without push back. Those who live on the property had no idea this was even happening.

Marcus Marjerum, a resident there for three years, “At least give us some notice.”

He lives in the 7900 block of Hillside Drive, where the location was approved for a new Urbn Leaf Dispensary.

During Tuesday's meeting, the La Mesa's Director of Community Development, Kerry Kusiak, presented a slideshow with photos of the plot of land.

He said, “I believe it’s been un-occupied for some time, and it’s a property that’s in need of re-development.”

But three people live there. Marcus says he had no clue his home was being considered for demolition.

“You got families, dogs, little communities and stuff and people trying to get their lives together, and they don’t need that one this street," he says.

And he was not the only one upset.

Public speakers including Dana Stevens with CASA, were concerned about the location but also it's proximity to another dispensary called Cookies, which is less than 1,000 ft away.

“We are still deeply concerned about this use in this location," shares Stevens.

Stevens filed an appeal back in October of 2021, when this location and dispensary were initially being considered. It led to council dismissing this in February.

However, after modifications to the original plan, and Urbn Leaf making sure that everything was up to code, council reconsidered.

It left some residents angry, “Within a mile and half of my home there are already three operating marijuana dispensaries," shares one resident during public comment on Tuesday. "There’s 62 thousand La Mesa citizens, we don’t need 17, 18 marijuana dispensaries. So who are you opening these stores for? You are not opening them for La Mesa citizens we don’t need that many.”

However, the council moved forward with unanimously approving the plot of land as the new Urbn Leaf location. The companies representative says he understood residents frustrations, but promises to make the transition smooth.

The representative for Urbn Leaf, Phil Wrath, shared, “We intend to in every way be a good neighbor, some may scoff at that but this is not our first go around…It’s our intention no matter how angry people may be that we will listen to their concerns and not rely on the City to knock on our door and fix our problems.”

The timeline for construction has not been decided, but Marcus just hopes the City reaches out.

“Ask us how we feel about this stuff," he pleads.

Marcus also hopes they help them find accommodations elsewhere.

ABC 10News reached out to the City of La Mesa to see if they did in fact reach out to the landlord. The City said the they provided the legally required public notice to all property owners within 300-feet of the project site.