The City Council Tuesday night will decide the fate of medical marijuana dispensaries in Hesperia.


The city has had an ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries since 2005. However, Hesperia is still home to at least a dozen dispensaries, none operating with a city-issued business license.


Local officials are not able to summarily shut them down because the dispensaries are legal under California law and operating without a business license is a fining offense within city limits.


In January, a grass roots effort attempted to break the stalemate when the West Coast Patients Group requesting an amendment to city code that would allow marijuana dispensaries to obtain a business license in Hesperia.


The Hesperia Planning Commission an advisory body for the city council spent months on the issue, hearing from dozens of residents over the course of multiple meetings.


"You are going to be faced with a choice of making money off these things or spending money" fighting the dispensaries, resident John Douglas told the commission in September.


"I do believe that God made marijuana," Charity Meyer said, "but he also made poison oak."


At the end of their Sept. 8 meeting, the commission voted 3-2 to recommend allowing the dispensaries to be able to receive business licenses.


"With the ban in place, we have 12 dispensaries and they're not regulated," commissioner Julie Jensen noted at the meeting. "Banning medical marijuana isn't going to get rid of it."


Tonight, the City Council will vote on a proposed ordinance that would require that dispensaries be located in industrial zones of the city, and that they be 600 feet away from residences, parks and K-12 schools and 1,000 feet from Main Street, Interstate 15 and Bear Valley Road.


The issue is up for debate during the meeting that starts at 6:30 p.m. at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Ave.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.