Let It Grow

By Benjie Cooper

IG: @nuglifenews

YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog

While other cities in San Diego County are in various stages of preparedness for the upcoming wave of retail sales in 2018, the City of San Diego is strides ahead of most as 17 medicinal use retailers in the city already have licenses, and adult-use regulations are in place for the new year.

On September 11, the San Diego City Council voted 6-3 to allow indoor cannabis cultivation and edible manufacturing sites; it was the first of two required votes.  At a later meeting, a revision was made to the legislation to require facilities to install exhaust systems to absorb cannabis odors and prevent them from drifting outside the building. The council once again voted 6-3 and gave their final approval to the measure. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has the authority to veto, but the council would just override him with the same six votes that approved the legislation twice.

With this latest step, San Diego completes the supply chain for the local marijuana industry. From seed to sale, the city will be able to regulate each step of the process and help ensure that customers can shop in a safe environment and rest assured that the medicine they are purchasing has been tested and is safe to use.

And though the measure was widely accepted, not everyone was open to the idea of allowing marijuana cultivation in San Diego. Councilwoman Lorie Zapf voted no on the new ordinance and stated she believed that allowing marijuana grows to operate in the city would increase the burden on police.

Councilman Mark Kersey voted for the legislation and stressed that 61.5% of the voters gave their approval to Prop 64 and stated that his focus is on obeying their will. During the meeting, he mentions that cultivation sites have been operating in the city for years without attracting crime and believes that regulating them is an appropriate and responsible thing to do. Councilwoman Barbara Bry agreed, stating that she believed that regulating each step of the chain was the city’s obligation.

Under the new ordinance, up to 40 production facilities will be able to obtain licenses. There were initially supposed to be only 18, but after an outcry from the local industry, they increased the total number allowed.

Many people are looking forward to benefits of the potential revenues associated with a local supply chain. In addition to the wealth of industry jobs that the new facilities will help create, a 5% tax will also be collected on all marijuana businesses, with the exception of medicinal cannabis sales. The rate will rise to 8% by 2019 with the council reserving the option to bring it to 15% with their approval.

Currently, San Diego is the only city in the County that is implementing a responsible and complete seed-to-sale supply chain, including testing and manufacturing. The council listened to the people when they voted and acted accordingly. For other councils who are toeing the cannabis waters or unsure of how to proceed, let America’s Finest City’s lead be a shining example of how elected officials can indeed represent the voice of the voters and help lead real progress in the community.