Five Medical Cannabis Firms Approved For Recreational Sales

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has voted 4-1 to authorize regulatory amendments to enable five medicinal cannabis companies to expand their operations and sell adult-use products.

Based in rural areas, the five companies will now be permitted to sell cannabis-infused candy, beverages, and branded merchandise.

The companies will also be able to expand an additional 10,000 square feet and shift business licenses among current permit holders.

Olive Tree Wellness Center/JAXX Cannabis, Outliers Collective, San Diego Natural/OutCo., Ramona Cannabis Co., and Releaf Meds were previously designated nonprofit medical cannabis unions.

Additionally, supervisors authorized a system wherein the five facilities can voluntarily operate under community design rules, with support from the District Planning and Development Services Department, and cultivate using groundwater in addition to city resources.

In June, the board agreed to extend the operations of the five facilities beyond their planned “sunset date” on April 14, 2022.

Board decided four years ago to prohibit cannabis companies in the district’s unincorporated area.

According to Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher, the process took many years before approval.

Fletcher also added that the approval was about resolving the status of the five facilities that struggled for years.

Oppositions View New Policy As A Violation Of Community Guidelines

Supervisor Jim Desmond, who opposed zoning modifications, said the larger cannabis facilities presented a larger risk.

Desmond states that there is no need for more cannabis dispensaries in the unincorporated areas.

He voiced further concern about the facilities growing in violation of some community design requirements, which appeared unjust to other businesses.

Desmond says the new policy is like opening “Pandora’s box,” and doesn’t want to see a new policy “ramrodded through.”

Supervisors learned in a public meeting that industry executives and individuals are against further loosening the district’s cannabis laws.

Expanding Businesses To Benefit Medical Cannabis Users

According to Greg McCluskey of the Ramona Cannabis Company, Permitting facilities to grow will increase access for medicinal cannabis users, particularly those with cancer.

McCluskey noted that his firm is devoted to social fairness and advancing the careers of women and minorities.

Ren Bowden of Jaxx Cannabis stated that his business is proud of its work, noting that their patients are as divers as the community they live in.

Bowden indicated that his company would collaborate with the Ramona Community Planning Group and Paving Great Futures, a nonprofit group that assists underprivileged or disenfranchised individuals.

Civilians Find The Approval As A Less Priority

Ramona Community Planning Group member Becky Rapp expressed surprise that the county would alter the restrictions for only five dispensaries.

She stated that no other firm had been given this kind of authority, adding that the board’s decisions eliminate all transparency and regulation from planning committees.

According to San Marcos Prevention Coalition official K.C. Strang, the county’s prohibition of flavored tobacco while allowing the distribution of cannabis edibles is contradictory.

“We are concerned that this decision will not be based on our public’s health,” said Strang.

Mark Wilcox, a county resident, wonders if it was worthwhile for the county officials to invest time and resources allowing cannabis enterprises to develop.

Wilcox stated that the authorities must look for solutions to the mental health issue in the county.

According to one lady, edibles are not regulated, and have no restrictions on THC concentrations, which could be “a recipe for disaster.”

The woman stated that limits on THC content in edible and drinkable goods are necessary.

Officials will also evaluate a social equity program for the cannabis businesses in unincorporated areas, though it is unlikely to receive approval in 2022.

Last August, the board authorized more enforcement against unlicensed cannabis businesses in unincorporated regions.

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