After Proposition 64 passed, counties and cities across California started preparing – and in some cases, continued with their preparations – for the legal recreational cannabis industry to take root. So far, San Diego is the very first city to propose city-level regulations which would allow currently licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to sell cannabis and cannabis infused products to adults over the age of 21 when the state has finished creating regulations and the new industry officially opens in January 2018.
Under this proposal, dispensaries for the recreational industry will be subject to all the same regulations as medical marijuana dispensaries in the city – including being 1,000 feet from public parks, churches, schools, daycare centers, playgrounds, libraries and residential neighborhoods. It also limits their storefront signs to alphabetical characters to ensure that symbols and graphics (including marijuana leaves and the like) will not be permitted. There are also specific security requirements that need to be met.
“While we haven’t completed a detailed review of this proposal, the city’s highly restrictive zoning for medical cannabis dispensing has proven effective at protecting the quality of life in our neighborhoods, and using the existing restrictions as the model for these new regulations is a good starting point,” said Phil Rath of the United Medical Marijuana Coalition. “We look forward to engaging this process moving forward to ensure the regulations are clear, enforceable and allow our members to continue to operate peacefully in our respective communities.”
While it is still a year away, any businesses hoping to open strictly as recreational marijuana shops will need to wait for the state to determine the regulations surrounding the industry, so it is possible that only a handful will be prepared to open at the start of the year. The move to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to serve both patients and recreational users is a unique stance so far in the state. Perhaps it will catch on and more cities will choose to do so, boosting business for these shops as well as ensuring that there are dispensaries open for adults to start purchasing their cannabis legally as soon as January 2018 rolls around.
Other requirements of the proposal are that dispensaries clean graffiti within 24 hours, and that all grows (commercial and residential) be kept indoors, with the exception of secured greenhouses. Along with the possibility of this new proposal becoming law for the city of San Diego, they also passed a tax specific to recreational marijuana; which lawmakers put on the ballot on November 8th in anticipation of Proposition 64 passing. Overall, it seems the city is embracing the future of the industry and are doing what they can to ensure things run smoothly.