San Diego Approves Cultivation

By Janis Collins

California has been part of the “green rush.” Entities from all over the United States and the rest of the world have been flocking to small towns throughout California to cash in on cultivation and testing.

San Diego is part of a handful of cities that have approved legalized local growing, manufacturing, and testing of cannabis under the new state medical and recreational laws that take effect in January. According to the NORML website, there are approximately 16 counties in the state that are moving forward with cultivation. On September 11, the San Diego City Council voted 6-3 to legalize cannabis cultivation and manufacturing.  

The City Council encountered opposition from the police department. Chief Zimmerman implored City Council to “not allow any further marijuana facilities within our city.” Zimmerman went on to claim that in three years there have been 272 calls for service related to medical marijuana including robberies, thefts, assaults, and shootings. However, this statistic didn’t ring entirely true. The police chief may be adding in calls coming from illegally run pot shops. The legal medical marijuana dispensaries run extremely tight operations. They are required to have 24-hour security, security cameras, and close each evening at 9 pm. The cannabis community would like a complete comparison to how many calls the police have fielded in the last three years from liquor stores, bars, and local cases of the nationwide opioid epidemic.

The majority of the City Council understood that by creating a local supply chain, they would essentially be keeping the money in our county. Approving cultivation and testing would also create more jobs and help boost the economy.

The Union Tribune quoted City Council member Chris Ward as saying “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.” His fair comparison with Ballast Point and Stone Brewery was spot-on. He asked, “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?”

The Council opposed two other proposals from staff. The first one that they eliminated was a proposed cap of two cultivation, manufacturing, and testing business per council district. The second one that encountered opposition required that cultivation and testing be more than 100 feet from each other. This is a huge win for the cannabis community.