San Diego Taking A Lead In Legalization

By: Marla Garden

Photo by: Rick Kuehn

A proud moment for San Diegans occurred on January 31st when San Diego became the first major city in California to legalize recreational marijuana.

62% of voters in San Diego voted Yes on Prop 64, which motivated council members. In addition to happy residents, the city could be looking at an estimated $30 million in tax revenue from legalization.

Prop 64 passed, but statewide regulations will likely hold off recreational pot sales until January 2018. Each city must likewise pass legislation to legalize recreational in their respective zones.

Fifteen total approved medical marijuana dispensaries will be given the green light to sell recreational once statewide legalization is firmly in place. There are currently eight approved dispensaries in San Diego. The city will likely approve additional Conditional Use Permits for dispensaries in the future.

Additionally, there is a chance that weed farms, as well as manufacturing and testing facilities, will be approved by San Diego officials. Law enforcement claims that legalizing cultivation, manufacturing, and testing will increase crime rates. However, legal cultivation, manufacturing, and testing of marijuana products will largely increase tax revenue for San Diego. With the estimated $30 million in tax revenues, it’s likely that SD will approve the facilities.

The prices of marijuana will surely drive due to increased sales taxes and excise taxes, but the changes are one part of beneficial change. People suffering from PTSD, for example, can look forward to the changes that testing labs, marijuana manufacturing facilities, and grows could bring. The legalization of cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and testing would create a number of jobs for San Diego residents. Results from testing the plant will work to destigmatize marijuana. The increased availability of pot will aid those who need access to it and cannot risk partaking in illegal activity.

San Diego has the third highest population of veterans in the country, and for veterans alone, these changes will likely increase the quality of life.