San Diego continues war on illegal pot shops: 200 closed in four years

Five pot shops close in San Diego as city evaluates applications

Five marijuana dispensaries were forced to close this week under an aggressive enforcement strategy by the San Diego city attorney to eliminate pot shops that violate the city's zoning regulations.

In four years, more than 200 of the dispensaries have been shut down, with 40 more awaiting enforcement, according to the city attorney's office. All opened during the time when the city had no zoning that would permit marijuana dispensaries.

The San Diego City Council in July adopted a medical marijuana ordinance allowing no more than four dispensaries in each of the nine council districts. A dozen applications are being reviewed.

Closed this week were dispensaries in North Park, Kearny Mesa, City Heights and Mission Valley. Two were not only in violation of zoning rules but also were within 600 feet of a school, in violation of state law, officials said.

The five dispensaries that closed this week had been served with restraining orders and warned of civil lawsuits against operators and property owners if they defied a demand to close within 24 hours.

"Our aggressive enforcement of city zoning regulations is necessary to protect neighborhood standards and safety," said City Atty. Jan Goldsmith.

The two dispensaries in Mission Valley -- Botanica Health and Prop. 215 -- were within 600 feet of the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in University Heights, a private high school for girls, officials said.

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