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San Diego moves forward!

Yesterday was the long anticipated San Diego City Council meeting to discuss the city's position on licensing for adult use cannabis.  The official docket was to vote on the following:

Amendment to the Municipal Code and Local Coastal Program to Address the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. - The project provides two alternative amendments to the Municipal Code to address the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. 

Option 1 allows testing of marijuana and marijuana products in testing labs in industrial zones and commercial zones that prohibit residential uses. 

Option 2 includes option 1 and also permits cultivation, distribution, and production of marijuana and marijuana products with approval of a Process Three Conditional Use Permit in light and heavy industrial zones. Marijuana production facilities will be limited to a maximum of two per City Council District. (Rev. 9/8/17)

Suffice it to say that it was a well attended meeting.  There were close to 100 speakers from the general public with impassioned (some highly entertaining) voices on all sides of the discussion.  I decided to speak as a citizen in opposition, because I believe that both of the options are too restrictive.  Two of the main reasons I advocate for a more liberal policy are as follows:

1) Recreational users want access to this plant and medical patients need access to it.  They will get it one way or another.  If cannabis is not readily accessible through legal channels, the black market will continue to thrive.  Black market operators do not concern themselves with toxicity, public safety, preventing youth from access, avoiding harmful contaminants, safe packaging, or any other critically important considerations.  Black market operators also don't bother with sales or income tax for obvious reasons.

2) San Diego has already approved licensing for retail dispensary locations.  If the city does not allow for cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution, the retail operators will have zero access to a legal, local supply chain.  This means the retail shelves in San Diego will be stocked with (at best) legal product from other municipalities or (at worst) local black market product.  Neither of these will necessarily comply with the same health and safety standards that we will have in San Diego.

After well over 4 hours of discussion, the City Council voted 6-3 in favor of an amended version of Option 2.  The amendment expands the limit of 2 per district to a citywide cap of 40 total licenses.

I have to believe that the dozens of responsible, well-researched, and articulate public statements made in support of this liberalization played a role in yesterdays vote.

Video from the meeting can be found here:


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