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Santa Monica Scared Pot Shops Will Cause Parking Problems

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Packed and pretty Santa Monica has not one single pot shop and now it probably won't be getting any. The city council had voted in August to look into standards for letting marijuana dispensaries into the city, but city planning staff has just recommended the city scrap the notion, due to the usual objections, but also largely because of parking. Planners released a draft zoning ordinance a few months back that would've allowed two dispensaries in what's called the healthcare district, by Saint John's Health Center and UCLA Medical Center, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press. But after a closer look, staff "had concerns about the amount of available on-street short-term parking. A dispensary, they said, 'may increase the burden in an area with existing parking challenges.'" They suggested the city might limit business to 15 patients per hour to reduce parking demand, like you would do for any business (you would not do this for any other business or healthcare provider).

Planners of course also had concerns about "public safety"; the police chief wrote a letter saying her department opposes the dispensaries and listing "more than a dozen" (an even 12 bullet points by our count) incidences of violence associated with dispensaries—ranging over eight years, from 2005 to July 2013, as far and wide as Alameda and Mendocino Counties, and including home invasions and police raids of dispensaries that turned up weapons.

The next one's fun too:"Planning officials also stumbled across www.WeedMaps.com, which maps the marijuana dispensaries that deliver within Santa Monica's boundaries." There are plenty, although the SMDP only found one that was operating legally under Los Angeles's Prop D. (A safe access advocate also points out that delivery is far scarier than a dispensary.)

Anyway, the Planning Commission will consider the matter next week and make their own recommendation. If they do want dispensaries, planners suggested they might "restrict them to the ground floor and prohibit them from installing signs."
· Planning officials say no to pot shops [SMDP]