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By Jennifer Mendoza, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Lemon Grove

August 18, 2017 (Lemon Grove) -- Less than a year ago, the voters of Lemon Grove narrowly approved an ordinance to allow Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (MMD) to operate in our city. This ordinance was written by a coalition of MMD businesses and proponents. This same coalition is now unhappy with some of the language and restrictions they wrote into the ordinance. They wish to force the city to hold a special election in 2017, so that they can change the language.

This special election could cost the city up to a quarter of a million dollars or more. These are your tax dollars, which could be spent on other necessary city services such as street repairs, public safety, recreation, etc.

The current ordinance states that the dispensaries cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a protected use, which includes all state-licensed day care centers. The MMD coalition would like to change this language to exclude day care centers with 12 or fewer children and/or that use less than 45% of their property for the purpose of running their business. This would then exclude most if not all licensed family day care centers and most if not all church-run day care centers as being a protected use. In other words, an MMD could locate right next door to a day care center.

The city has received quite a few permit applications to operate Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.

It is likely that about three of these will be approved in the near future. These three businesses should be sufficient to service the needs of medical marijuana patients in a city of approximately 25,000 people. Additional MMDs will not significantly contribute more to the city’s tax base.

So, I ask you to please not sign this petition when you are approached by one of the coalition’s paid petition solicitors. The people of Lemon Grove do not benefit in any way from this special election. Medical marijuana patients do not benefit. The only benefit is to MMD business and property owners, at the great expense of the citizens of Lemon Grove.

If you think that Lemon Grove needs more than three Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and that the interests of the MMD business and property owners outweigh the interests of our children, then please wait and have this initiative placed on the general election ballot next year.

If you have any questions, or would like additional information, please contact me at city hall or email me at

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact

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Paid for Signatures

I have been approached by people seeking me to sign a petition and they were not honest about what the petition supported. There is an incentive to get more signatures so people will lie to earn another fifty cents or a dollar.