"It's most unfortunate and odd," Jorgensen said. "I would have thought [Police] Chief Sellers would have brought it up at one of our meetings."
Marijuana is frequently prescribed — often in pill form — as a remedy for HIV symptoms, Jorgensen said.
"The city has not very aggressively enforced laws for those possessing small amounts of marijuana, and I would be disappointed if that were to change," Jorgensen said.
The ordinance must return to the council for a second reading to be formally approved.
The Planning Commission will consider on Wednesday a companion ordinance that would prohibit zoning entitlements or use permits for such businesses.
The ordinances are designed to target medical marijuana dispensaries and were created at the request of the Laguna Beach Police Dept., Cpt. Danell Adams said.
Adams said that complaints about the marijuana dispensaries led to the idea of a city ordinance to control them.
"The problem has been more complaint-based than violation-based," Adams said. "So, in the process of looking into the matter, it was the zoning department that felt an ordinance would be appropriate in the event enforcement is necessary."
The proposed ordinances would not take the issue of illegal drug use out of the hands of police, she added.
"While we still enforce possession/use/growth/sales of marijuana, we have to examine each incident on its merit," Adams said.
"As with any prescribed drug, there is legal use and then there is criminal abuse. Certainly, our experience with the medical marijuana has revealed abuses under the auspices of medical need, hence the need for careful scrutiny."
Adams declined to discuss specific instances or dispensaries, citing the privacy of patients of the clinics.