Two medical marijuana dispensaries seek operation in Malibu

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The Malibu Planning Commission at its Feb. 15 meeting will consider applications by two medical marijuana dispensaries that want to operate in Malibu. However, because city law restricts the number of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed to operate within Malibu to two, only one may be granted an application.

The proposed location for one dispensary, Malibu Collective Caregivers, is 22235 Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Giovanni’s Restaurant. The location of the other dispensary, Twin Lyons Wellness Center, would be located at 22775 Pacific Coast Highway, in the same building where Zuma Jay’s Surf Shop is located. There is already one medical marijuana dispensary in Malibu, PCH Collective, which has been in operation for more than two years. PCH Collective is located a half mile north of the proposed Collective Caregivers location.

James Erickson filed his application for Malibu Collective Caregivers on Sept. 30. Joshua Krane filed his application for Twin Lyons Wellness Center Oct. 7.

A number of laws determine whether or not the marijuana dispensaries will be able to open their doors. First, according to the Malibu Municipal Code “no more than two medical marijuana dispensaries shall be permitted to operate in the city at any time.” In addition, a dispensary may not be located within 1,000 feet of a church, temple or any place used primarily for religious worship, as well as any playground, park, library, licensed child day care facility, school or another dispensary. The dispensary must also make sure that the exterior appearance of its structure is compatible with the commercial structures already in place “to ensure against blight, deterioration, or substantial diminishment or impairment of property values in the vicinity.”

In the past, the community has spoken out both for and against medical marijuana dispensaries.

Malibu resident George Goldstein, who suffered a car accident that required the placement of titanium rods in his leg to avoid amputation, has supported local dispensaries.

“Marijuana was and is the only medication that has allowed me to have a relatively normal life,” Goldstein wrote in a letter to the editor in 2008. “Almost everyone has tried marijuana. None of us have become junkies or hookers. Having said that, the notation that this business attracts problems is false. Without it the drug dealers will be back in droves and victimize all of us with their illegal activities.”

Another resident, Alessandra DeClario told The Malibu Times in 2008, “I cannot describe the suffering I’ve seen in patients who can’t take regular drugs. For some, medical marijuana is the only option for a normal life.”

In 2009, Malibu High School students spoke out against marijuana dispensary Green Angel Collective’s application for a conditional use permit, after it was determined the dispensary was within 1,000 feet of Las Flores Canyon Park, if mapped across the hills that separate the two entities, not by traveling the highway and then Las Flores Canyon Road.

“There are always going to be drugs sold at school but I feel the dispensaries make it all the easier,” Malibu High School student Hap Henry was quoted in a previous article in The Malibu Times. “If marijuana is more accessible and more acceptable by the community, it’s not going to be a big deal for students to use it.”

The public hearing regarding these applications will take place Feb. 15 in the Council Chambers at Malibu City Hall, 23815 Stuart Ranch Rd. at 6:30 p.m.