San Diego

Marijuana Businesses Face Strict Requirements Under Proposed Regulations

The new proposed city rules would include having employees outline how they will "positively contribute to and serve the community in which they are located."

A set of regulations proposed by Councilman Chris Cate would ask non-retail marijuana businesses to staff a 24-hour-a-day neighborhood liaison to address any complaints about their operations; arm their property with a security guard and surveillance cameras; and mandate reporting to the police department when any drugs go missing. 

The proposed rules regulate cultivation, manufacturing and testing of marijuana more aggressively than state laws, but Cate says they allow for the will of the voters under Proposition 64 to be realized in San Diego.

"As Chair of the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, my top priority during these deliberations is to ensure that marijuana related businesses are well regulated in order to guarantee that they are operating safely and in a manner that promotes public safety," Cate said.

The new proposed city rules, which can be read here, include restricting use of flammable gases, requiring all employees to wear laminated picture ID badges and outlining how they will "positively contribute to and serve the community in which they are located."

If adopted, San Diego would be the first city in the region to allow a local supply chain for dispensaries and recently legalized recreational retail shops.

The rules mandate reporting to the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) when any drugs go missing and staffing a round-the-clock liaison to address community concerns.

Some have already expressed concern the rules may be too strict.

"We're going to make sure these businesses aren't located near parks or schools or churches, just like we've done with the storefronts," Cate said. "They're going to have large quantities of product on site and we want to make sure they're doing so in a way that's going to be safe for the communities they're in."

Karim Assaf, a manager at Southwest Patients on San Ysidro Boulevard, said just having the discussion is a step in the right direction.

"We think the rules are generally workable, but we see that a lot of those regulatory and operational procedures are already state-focused, something that they’re already implementing, so we think that it’s kind of redundant," said Assaf.

Assaf said the city should leave the regulatory and safety measures to the state and focus on local issues, like land-use.

"While we do think it’s a good thing in general, we think it would be better if the city would focus on the land-use aspect: where we can be and where we can’t be," Assaf said.

Dallin Young, the Executive Director of the Association of Cannabis Professionals told us Wednesday having no regulations make neighborhoods more dangerous.

That's because it increases the likelihood marijuana will be distributed on the black market.

"There is a demand in all of these cities. The reason the black market is operating is because there is a demand there so what we are trying to do is provide access there that’s legal safe and regulated so the black market regulators will go away," Young told NBC7. 

A San Diego Police narcotics lieutenant said the department is still reviewing the proposed regulations released Thursday and does not yet have a comment. 

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