Proposal to legalize marijuana dispensaries sparks heated debate in Chula Vista

CHULA VISTA, Calif., -- There is continued controversy surrounding marijuana dispensaries in Chula Vista.

Right now, dispensaries are not legal in the city, but council members Thursday held a workshop to discuss possibly legalizing, regulating and taxing dispensaries.

During the meeting, the council listened to public comment. Neisha Hernandez explained why she does not want marijuana dispensaries in her neighborhood.

“It would be a disgrace to allow the dispensaries to be legally operating where our children live and play,” Hernandez said. “We just had "just say no week" in our elementary schools here in Chula Vista this week. So how can we say just say no for an entire week and then, maybe we’ll make it legal?"

Hernandez owns a dance studio in town and said after an illegal dispensary popped up nearby she started seeing problems.

“We’ve had trash. We’ve had beer bottles. We have video cameras. We know that people are smoking in our parking lots and then driving away high,” Hernandez said.

On the other side of the issue, Kelly Paulson talked about why she is in favor legalizing dispensaries.

“Having dispensaries that are medicinal are near and dear to my family,” Paulson told the city council.

Paulson said she not only sees the medical benefits but financial benefits as well.

“The revenue that is going to come about is going to give our law enforcement greater ability to combat the illegal dispensaries. The black market. We’ll have more revenue to actually do programs that can help children,” Paulson said.

The city council will hold another workshop to discuss the matter. The date and time of that meeting has not yet been set.