Escondido, CA
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Supervisors move toward legalizing retail pot dispensaries in unincorporated area

Wednesday, January 27 the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 (with Supervisor Jim Desmond voting no) to instruct staff to write an ordinance that will legalize the sale, distribution, and growing of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes. And to put persons with pot-related arrests and convictions at the top of the list for getting licenses to sell pot. 

Staff will bring the ordinance back to the board for final approval in six months, after hearings during which the public will be encouraged to give input on the ordinance.

Note: this ordinance would not apply within the city limits of Escondido, which has not yet adopted such a policy.

Two days before the vote, Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher and Supervisor Nora Vargas said the ordinance would advance “social equity.”  

Fletcher declared,  “We know that many communities have been devastated by the War on Drugs and disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. We seek to undo these past wrongs by centering social justice at the core of our cannabis approach.”

Fletcher, who tried to get a similar policy passed last year, but failed to win support, added, “We are bringing forward policy that allows for safe, regulated, and legal cannabis products. Right now, we have unlicensed operations with potentially unsafe products being sold in the unincorporated area.” 

Fifth District Supervisor Jim Desmond after the vote said, “Today, the County Board of Supervisors voted to give people previously arrested or convicted of drug crimes greater opportunities and reduced barriers to own and operate cannabis dispensaries. That’s crazy and bad for the safety of our communities. Encouraging convicted drug criminals to come to San Diego and sell marijuana is a terrible idea.”

The ordinance was sponsored by Supervisors Fletcher and Vargas and would allow marijuana dispensaries and cultivation. Currently, marijuana dispensaries and cultivation are prohibited within the unincorporated County.

The ordinance will allow cannabis sales in any commercially zoned property in the unincorporated area, with very few limitations. And provide preference of operating licenses in the unincorporated area to people that have been either arrested and/or convicted of cannabis crimes. 

The ordinance will allow:

  • Individuals with past marijuana convictions and/or arrests to receive preferential treatment in obtaining a marijuana dispensary operating permit
  • Retail marijuana (dispensaries) on all commercially zoned property
  • Consumption of marijuana products at facilities and permitted events
  • Cultivation of marijuana on all agriculturally zoned property
  • Distribution and manufacturing of cannabis products on all industrially zoned property

 The only limitation is that these facilities cannot be located within 600 feet of a K-12 school, daycare center, or youth center.

4 responses to “Supervisors move toward legalizing retail pot dispensaries in unincorporated area”

  1. Laura says:

    This information is incorrect and false, and the reporter should do his minimum due diligence. The County did NOT pass any ordinance. It merely instructed city staff to develop frameworks, reporting back in 90 days for input with the directive to have an ordinance developed in 180 days. Input will be solicited by planning commissions and the public. Additionally, the Board is serving the will of the voters of Prop 64 to attempt to correct wrongs on people of color who have suffered disproportionate prosecution for low-level, non-violent cannabis possession. It is inflammatory to suggest that the County is “inviting convicted drug criminals to come to sell it …(sic) in San Diego”. And a racist statement. People of color have been persecuted and many are still in jail for possession of a substance that white private-equity men are now profiting from legally. And it’s called “cannabis”, not marijuana (a term coined to make it sound scary and foreign in 1933). Google any of this to affirm the truth here. It’s time to update your map- Oklahoma has 2,200 dispensaries and remains a red state where cannabis is legal. They have no illegal market there. So that’s why the county is doing this.

  2. Brian Kelly says:

    Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide!

    It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national marijuana policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-marijuana, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

    Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

  3. says:

    It would have been nice if this article had quoted County bureaucrats who could have suggested how long the permitting process might last, that is, how long it might be before any dispensaries would be able to get all the licenses and things they need to open.

  4. Alex MacLachlan says:

    I’m pretty sure the County Board of Supervisors only instructed staff to come up with guidance in 90 days and a policy within 180 days to vote on, so the title of this story is not accurate.

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