San Diego

Dispensary Owner Backs New Guidelines for Marijuana Production Facilities

On Monday, San Diego city leaders voted to approve new regulations for recreational marijuana businesses within city limits.

San Diego's new regulations on pot production are a positive step forward, but may not be enough, according to one marijuana dispensary owner.

The San Diego City Council voted 6-3 Monday to approve a regulatory framework for marijuana production facilities, which will be capped at 40 businesses.

It's part of new regulations put in place to prepare the city for the legalization of recreational pot. Voters approved Prop 64 in 2016. Sales of marijuana without a medical prescription are slated to begin in January. 

The vote is a step forward, said Ebon Johnson, the owner of Mankind Cooperative.

The dispensary is one of less than a dozen marijuana dispensaries legally operating in the city right now. 

Johnson told NBC 7 that 40 most likely won't be enough, and hopes for a gradual growth.

"Let's say one of the grows or the facilities tests bad, or they're not a very good vendor, that's really going to choke the supply that's here in San Diego," he said.

Councilmembers considered two topics on Monday.

"Option 1" creates a new land use with testing labs. "Option 2" creates two new uses, testing labs and marijuana production facilities, which includes agricultural raising, harvesting, and processing of marijuana, wholesale distributing and storing of pot and marijuana products and producing from cannabis and cannabis products. For details, click here. 

Facilities will also be required to be at least 1,000 feet from public parks, churches, childcare, libraries, residential care facilities, and schools; as well as at least 100 feet from homes.

The council also approved testing for bacteria and contaminants in the products.

Johnson said Monday's vote was a step forward in the right direction. 

"The prohibition has passed, and let's work together and make sure everyone is happy," Johnson said. 

San Diego has already established rules regarding licensing dispensaries, allowing up to four dispensaries in each district to sell weed, keeping a strict distance from schools, churches, and other dispensaries. 

Many of those coveted licenses will go to existing medical marijuana dispensaries.

In addition to legalizing the use of pot and allowing anyone over the age of 21 to grow up to six plants at home, Prop 64 is expected to generate revenue for California with new taxes on its cultivation and sales. It also reduces many of the criminal penalties for pot-related crimes.

Part of the tax structure under Prop 64 allocates the funds to go toward police and fire departments as well as public health issues.

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