September 13, 2017 San Diego
As sales of adult-use cannabis are going to become legal on Jan 1, cities all across the state of California are busy discussing the local rules and regulations for the industry. In the latest development, San Diego is contemplating to legalize cannabis farming, developing and testing in the city.
If this proposal becomes a part of the legislation, then it will be another significant step of San Diego to relax the restrictions on the cannabis industry. The city allowed the operations of medical marijuana dispensaries in 2015. In the beginning of this year, authorities allowed 16 already approved dispensaries to expand their sales once the sales of recreational use start.
The nine-member body of the San Diego City Council comprises five Democrats and four Republicans. According the reports of San Diego Union-Tribune, Democratic members have shown more enthusiasm for relaxing cannabis laws than the four Republicans. If this report holds true, then there are strong chances that the City Council will give a nod of approval to the proposal.
However, law-enforcement agencies are not happy with this development. They have had a long history of strained relationship with the marijuana industry. San Diego police department has also put forward their recommendation to the City Council to reject the proposal. The recommendation mentioned the concerns of crime and safety in the city.
Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman showed his reservations regarding the proposal. According to him, there would be a significant hike in service calls. He also predicted that there would be more cases of explosions and fires.
Phil Rath, executive director of The United Medical Marijuana Coalition, voiced the wishes of the local industry. According to him, maintaining a local supply chain for cannabis will provide built-in efficiency to the industry, and will also lower the prices of the end product by cutting the transportation expenses. Rath also pointed out the problems with the proposal to allow cultivation and processing. He said that the proposal would restrict the number of farming and processing businesses to a maximum of two per City Council district. Ruth has hinted that the two-per-district cap would not help the city to become self-sufficient in the production of cannabis. According to his suggestion, the number of permits for cannabis farming and processing should be somewhere between 40 to 50, to fulfill the local demand.
Taxes for the cannabis industry are also on the agenda of the City Council. Voter in San Diego approved a tax on adult-use cannabis in November. The local tax starts at 5%, and will rise to 8% in July 2019. With the City’s Council approval, the tax can increase to up to 15%. The tax would take cannabis farmers, producers and dispensaries within its ambit.
Apart from San Diego, there are a few other cities, like La Mesas and Lemon Grove, that legally sell cannabis. La Mesa has also hinted that it might also allow the cultivation of cannabis in the city.