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Cannabis Manufacturing, Retail, and Cultivation Will be Coming to Unincorporated Areas

01/27/21

Safe, regulated and legal cannabis retail, cultivation and manufacturing will soon be allowed in unincorporated area communities under a new policy passed today by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Chair Nathan Fletcher, co-author of the new policies, issued the following statement after today’s 4-1 vote:

“The old policies ignored the realities surrounding cannabis and caused more harm than good for the areas and residents they were meant to protect,” said Chair Fletcher. “Our County’s new position on cannabis brings us in line with the will of the voters, but also takes the extra step toward the future to establish equitable opportunities for economic prosperity and good paying jobs, right the wrongs of the ‘war on drugs’ and establishes safeguards to ensure cannabis is safe, regulated and legal.”   

During the meeting there were some friendly amendments made to the proposal that were accepted by the authors, Chair Fletcher and Vice Chair Nora Vargas. Supervisor Joel Anderson’s amendment dedicates $500,000 for immediate and aggressive enforcement to the San Diego County Sheriff and/or code enforcement teams on unlicensed, illegal dispensaries, labs or related facilities. This included the addition for code enforcement from Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. Supervisor Anderson also secured another amendment to include a data-driven process to examine expanding the buffer zone up-to 1,000 feet from sensitive areas.   

The new policies will create a County cannabis program that expands economic access in a socially equitable way, creates good paying jobs and rectifies the devastating impact the war on drugs has had on Black and Brown communities. Today’s action will advance safe access, with final regulations and ordinances to be developed over the next 6 months with final approval by the board, including robust stakeholder engagement. The final regulations will also include the following policies, and more details will be identified through the stakeholder engagement process:  

  • Put social equity at the center of the cannabis permitting program 
  • Expand agricultural, farming, retail, manufacturing business
  • Create opportunities for people with past cannabis convictions and from communities impacted by the War on Drugs to apply for permits
  • Create good-paying jobs through labor peace agreements
  • No more unpermitted and potentially unsafe cannabis sales and operations in our communities
  • Mandatory distances from schools, places of worship and other places children and families gather 
  • New code enforcement teams to ensure compliance

This new approach to cannabis earned the support of social justice leaders, farmers and retailers.