Imperial Beach Takes Step Toward Recreational Marijuana Sales - NBC 7 San Diego

Imperial Beach Takes Step Toward Recreational Marijuana Sales

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Imperial Beach Takes Step Toward Recreational Marijuana Sale

    NBC 7's Dave Summers reports from Imperial Beach where the City Council has agreed to issue one dispensary permit and another next year. (Published Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018)

    You might say Imperial Beach is dipping its toe in the pool of commercial cannabis.

    City Council members met to hammer out a draft ordinance outlining commercial sales regulations Wednesday, but not before hearing from the public.

    The city conducted surveys, outreach meetings and had an ad-hoc committee do the research, and now it's ready to welcome cannabis to its local commerce.

    But the debate over who, how and where, has only just begun.

    "I'm not in favor of manufacturing, I just want to keep this under the radar and as minimum as you can," opponent Bob Miller said.

    Commercial sale of marijuana just became legal two months ago in California, and Imperial Beach isn't exactly diving in head first.

    "Just because you sold cannabis doesn't mean you understand regulatory compliance," California Cannabis Industry Association member Laura McCormick said.

    The city council agreed to issue one license to sell recreational marijuana and will consider issuing a second license one year later.

    "We stand in line with 40 to 50 people. A lot of them have the same color hair I do. A lot of them are trying to get away with major medical costs," resident Chris Lund said.

    The City Council will review and background check applicants. If more than one meets the criteria the selection will be random.

    Once given a license, a dispensary will have to be in the area of Palm Avenue and State Route 75 to meet distance restrictions from schools, daycares, residents and rehab facilities.

    The dispensary will be allowed to conduct sales only, no cultivation, manufacturing or distribution allowed.

    "If the black market becomes cheaper because there is taxation and regulation on pricing and no discounting, you're kind of shooting yourself in the foot," Business Owner Marcus Boyd said.

    Insiders say the city tax on sales will hover around 15 percent, but that will go to a vote of the people in the June or November elections.

    The public, city council, and their lawyers will have 45 days to kick the tires of this draft ordinance. The coastal commission will also have a say before its first reading.

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