El Centro City Council Moves Closer to Allowing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Neon sign from a medical marijuana dispensary on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.


EL CENTRO — The El Centro Community Development Department will make its official report to the El Centro City Council at their April 21 meeting to make what may be its final solutions, allowing up to two Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to be located in El Centro. An Ordinance to allow dispensaries was initially passed in 2012. Community concern forced the Council to set a moratorium on the ordinance for three years. The Council recently decided to take final actions prior to the Moratorium’s expiration on July 1 of this year.

The community’s attention has most definitely been focused on the City Council’s recent actions that have allowed an alliance with Planned Parenthood to open a clinic to perform abortions. Nevertheless, a small, but determined, group has kept their focus on the marijuana ordinance. The same small group of interested citizens met March 12, and assembled again for the March 18 meeting to suggest an end to the moratorium.

The discussions have been on how to go about setting up marijuana dispensaries to meet legal requirements while serving the local population. Opposition exists, but has not been very vocal, where as supporters have been in attendance to offer their arguments.

Mrs. Emilia Figueroa who is a California Addiction and Alcohol (CADAC) specialist spoke again to the Community Development Department led by Norma Villicaña. Figueroa is a licensed physician and psychologist in Mexicali and works as a researcher for New York University (NYU) which includes marijuana, here in the United States. This has been her life’s work for twenty-seven years. She owns ten clinics in Mexico, along the border, and two clinics here in Imperial Valley.

“If they are doing it (using marijuana for medical purposes), if this use is becoming more and more prevalent, then let’s educate,” says Figueroa. “Let’s make a change for the better.”

Dr. Carlos A. Ainza, son of Edward Ainza, DDS of El Centro, spoke to the audience. Ainza is a clinical neurologist working with stem cell and regenerative research. He has a working business relationship with Figueroa and her research with marijuana. He has agreed to share his views more fully in the weeks ahead.

Those who have an interest on either side of this issue, as well as the locations of possibly two dispensaries are encouraged to attend the April 21st meeting, though set, has yet to be noted on the City’s official calendar.