San Diego has elected to really embrace the legalization of recreational marijuana coming in 2018. Visitors can expect to find marijuana farms, factories that make cannabis infused edibles, lab testing facilities and stores that will sell it to the public.
There is a lot happening in San Diego, including a new football stadium that the city really cannot afford, but should result in a renewal of interest. Do you think San Diego may be embracing recreational marijuana the way that it is to help pay for some of its new large costs?
San Diego will have a fully legal and regulated marijuana industry including pot farms, factories making edibles and retail storefronts selling the drug to both medical and recreational customers.
The City Council voted 6-3 on Monday to legalize local cultivation, manufacturing and testing of marijuana when new state laws take effect in January.
The council also agreed earlier this year to allow legally approved medical marijuana dispensaries to expand their sales to recreational customers. The city has approved 17 such businesses and 11 have begun operating.
The approval came despite strong objections from Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who warned of significant threats to public safety that she said couldn’t be outweighed by new tax revenue from the highly profitable industry.
The council majority said, however, that creating a local supply chain for the city’s dispensaries would boost the economy, create jobs and improve the quality and safety of local marijuana by eliminating the need to truck it in from elsewhere.
They also said it would prevent a local “black market” of unregulated cultivators and manufacturers that would emerge if the city outlawed those activities.
The council also took the less controversial step of allowing marijuana testing facilities in the city. Testing of for-sale marijuana will be required under new state laws prompted by California voters approving Proposition 64 last November.
The only other cities in the county that allow dispensaries are La Mesa and Lemon Grove, where voters forced the hands of city leaders by approving ballot measures last November. And only La Mesa has indicated it may allow cultivation.
The council also eliminated a proposed cap of two cultivating, manufacturing and testing businesses per council district, which would have allowed a maximum of 18 in the city. Instead, the council set a citywide cap of 40 such businesses.
Another proposal from staff that the marijuana industry opposed was a rule prohibiting such businesses from opening within 100 feet of each other or dispensaries. The council also eliminated that rule.
Councilman Chris Ward said the decision was obvious to him.
“Having sound policy and regulations in place will allow the city to enforce its rules and assist the cannabis industry in regulating itself,” he said. “Would we tell Stone Brewery that we wanted them to manufacture everything in Riverside County and truck it down? Would we tell Ballast Point they can only grow their hops up in Humboldt?”