San Diego City Council: Adult Use of Marijuana Act

San Diego City Council: Adult Use of Marijuana Act, Cannabis, Option 2 Moves Forward


By: Gabriel N. Davis MSW, MA


Yesterday, Monday September 11, 2017 the City Council of San Diego made a logical, moral, and data driven decision for cannabis in San Diego.  Gratefully, the city council passes Option 2, option not awesome sauce, but option best sauce available.  Where are the other sauce choices?  Importantly, cannabis delivery receives omission from ordinance language. The following article will highlight September 11, 2017 City Council advocacy, community discussion, progress, and how to move forward in advocating for cannabis delivery.

City Council Amendment to the Municipal Code and Local Coastal Program is to address the Adult Use of Marijuana Act and regulations in San Diego.  Two amendments Option 1 and Option 2 were for council review in order to provide clarity for cannabis cultivation, processing, testing, and distribution locations.

Option 1 allows cannabis testing and cannabis products in ministerial testing labs in commercial zones and industrial zones prohibiting residential use.

Option 2 includes option 1 in addition to distribution, cultivation, and production of cannabis and cannabis products upon granting of Process Three Conditional Use Permit.  A Process Three Conditional Use Permit is only in light and heavy industrial zones. Cannabis production facilities proposal at a maximum of two per City Council District.  This proposal did not have the sentiments of Council Member Chris Cate or Council Member Chris Ward.  The two see clearly the black market, market needs, and demand of San Diego.

Councilman Chris Cate unveils last month regulations for cultivation and manufacturing businesses.  Many of the regulations receive omission for proposal in the council debate Monday, yet Council Member Cate advocates.

They include outlawing any signs on such businesses, requiring them to have a “positive impact” on the surrounding community and mandating they have a round-the-clock liaison to respond to any complaints.  The Council Amends for Council Member Cates proposals and pass that a cannabis business cannot have signing, and only signage visible is the address, and an available number for a community liaison of the business.

The council made no decision on how to handle 27 businesses — 17 manufacturers, eight cultivators, one testing lab and one warehouse.   The legal standing in the City of San Diego businesses rely on at this time are the city business tax certificates.

Council Member David Alvarez advocates with passion, sincerity, foresight, and planning.  Yes, individuals already in the cannabis industry have a leg up on Social Workers like me, but if I was in the market I need support.  Council Member Alvarez is the strength and support.

Council member Alvarez advocates for odor control measures.  Logical.  Council Member Alvarez foresees the challenges in issuing cannabis cultivation permits with disturbance to odor pollution.  Easy fix with filters Council member Alvarez.  The City Attorneys were not ready to meet Council Member Alvarez advocacy for the community.  Yes, you are correct Council member Alvarez, the likelihood of making cultivators comply to later ordinances is unlikely.  Therefore, moving with agility with regulations is key for long term compliance and avoiding grandfather status.

Some or all may receive “grandfather” status in order to continue operating. Or they have to wait in line like everyone else? Silly.  But that would be fun to watch and make jokes at their representative as they wait in line with me.  Council member Alvarez thank you for respecting the time, labor, and effort people have put into the cannabis industry in San Diego. City Attorney Mary Nueesca and Deputy Attorney were unable to answer or meet Council Member Alvarez requests or comments for advocacy on odor or sustainability and permit planning.

I hope I articulate well how much I love Council Member Chris Ward.  Let’s begin.  Council Members in January of 2017 take steps forward over land use, access, and continue to move forward and strike a balance with adult use.  Importantly without placing harm on our community.  Council member Chris Ward understands having sound policy and regulations allows the city to enforce its rules and allow the cannabis industry to regulate itself.  Member Ward is of a sound mind seeing “cannabis is like our craft beer industry.”  Member Ward sees San Diego at the fore front of craft brewing and San Diego can be the fore front of the cannabis craft.

Further Council Member Ward talks about land use constraints an integral part to our economy and moving forward.  Council Member Ward is astute, economically literate, and purposeful.  Mentioning “900 million dollars in sales” to San Diego with increasing access to “4,500 jobs in San Diego,” with the cannabis industry.  Additionally, engages comparative reasoning “would we tell stone brewery to manufacture in Riverside and should Ballast point to manufacture in Humbolt?”  Right!  Just stupid to increase our carbon footprint with increasing transportation costs, when we can reduce labor costs and potential insurances.

Council Member Ward addresses community safety.  Member Ward highlights how the four recreational cannabis states reflect the reality on the ground, facts, not alternative facts, thought distortions, or automatic negative thoughts from your basal ganglia in the brain.  Any who, cannabis arrests decrease around 40 percent, violent crimes decrease 6 percent, and so on.  Council Member Ward provides his source of information from studies in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, from a logical source of information, the Cato Institute.

Community members advocate before City Council Members make their comments or advocacy for amendments.

Community member, advocate, and Executive Director of CannITalk Daniel Shook presents Cannabis Education and Community Development.  Shook provides an innovative platform, sharing video of patients and their stories.  Shook understands education and information on cannabis informs and connects community.  Shook shares the stories of a patient with diabetes and battling opiods and prescription medication.  In addition to, my story.  Thank you Shook.

Further, Dalin Young the Executive Director of the Association of Cannabis Professionals advocates for San Diego’s cannabis community.  Mr. Young represents himself with poise and resonates direction, inspiration, and purpose.  Young notes “common sense regulations, option one is not acceptable.”  In addition to addressing zoning challenges, leaves 8 licenses, and t how the city needs to allow licensing to 50 in number.  Young covers numerous points of interest to residents in the community.  Of the 26 tax certificates in San Diego there are no complaints about the tax certificates.  Importantly, community comment over harm and public access is without warrant because nonpublic access is the current vote.  Young comments articulate the need for cannabis literacy, and how to “best able to serve our community in our community.”

Importantly, Elizabeth Wilhelm San Diego Cannabis Delivery Alliance holds a rally before the 2 p.m. City Council meeting.  The San Diego Cannabis Delivery Alliance advocates for delivery-only services. Currently, San Diego only allows cannabis delivery services with cannabis license storefronts.  Ms. Wilhelm responds to NBC7 truthfully, factually, “by no means has there been 2-300 delivery services running illegally all this time.”   Ms. Wilhelm understands “They’ve been running lawfully under a different set of laws that are now changing and now we’re having the door closed on us, to enter that new market.”

California Proposition 215 and SB420, protect cannabis delivery services under state law. Ms. Wilhelm is literate of Proposition 64 and understands state protections under Proposition 215 and SB420 disappear, unless San Diego City Council passes licensing for delivery only services.

The future for cannabis delivery services in San Diego requires thoughtful advocacy.  As a Social Worker I see strong advocacy on part of community members with physical and mental disabilities.  San Diego needs to reflect on The Americans with Disabilities Act.

In 1990 The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law. Americans with Disabilities Act is civil rights law, civil rights protection, and civil rights power prohibiting discrimination, stigmatization, disenfranchising, and marginalizing of persons with disabilities.   Americans with Disabilities Act protects all areas of community life, importantly all private and community places open to the general community.  The purpose of Americans with Disabilities Act is to safeguard, steward, and advocate for persons with disabilities because everyone deserves equal opportunity as each other. Civil rights protection of persons with disabilities is similar to protections in need to safeguard gender, sex, religion, age, color, and race. Equal opportunity is equal access for persons with disabilities.  Equal opportunity and equal access includes public accommodations, community life, State, City, and County government services, employment, transportation, and communication.

Title II (State and Local Government)

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services.  Importantly, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act criminalizes discrimination of individuals with disabilities.  Discrimination is criminal and persons with disabilities shall not face prohibition from programs, services of public entities, community entities, and community activities. Further, Title II includes State, City, and County governments, departments, agencies, and all instrumentalities of governance in the United States.

Specifically, Title III (Public Accommodations) of the Americans with Disabilities Act focuses on the Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities.   Further, Title III prohibits State, City, and County governance from denying access to private places of public accommodation and discrimination of persons with disabilities.  Public accommodations examples include private-ownership, lease or operating facilities like cannabis, cannabis retail merchants, doctor’s offices, health clubs and so on.  This is a challenge with current zoning laws and meeting the needs of San Diego’s community.  In addition, Title III provides direction for businesses and progress “reasonable modifications” to ways of serving persons with disabilities.  What this means is cannabis cultivation zoning needs to meet the needs of the disability. Title III places steps necessary for effective service delivery for communication with persons of speech, vision, and hearing disabilities.  This is why San Diego needs delivery services that are competent in meeting effective service delivery.

As a whole, San Diego cannabis community has progress.  Next steps include cannabis delivery services and more.