San Diego

City Council to Consider New Rules for Pot Production

San Diego city leaders meet Monday to consider new regulations for marijuana businesses now that California voters have approved recreational use of the drug.

Rules regarding licensing dispensaries have already been set, 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.

Councilmembers will meet at 1 p.m. to hear presentations from city staffers regarding testing of marijuana and marijuana products in industrial zones and commercial zones. 

A second option would allow testing, cultivation, distribution and production in light and heavy industrial zones as long as the business operator obtains a permit. Under this option, only two marijuana production facilities would be permitted in each council district for a total of 18 within the city. 

Non-retail marijuana business permits are not on the agenda. San Diego Cannabis Delivery Alliance wants the city to legalize stand-alone pot delivery. Currently, only brick-and-mortar medical marijuana dispensaries can get a permit to deliver pot to patients.

Hundreds of delivery services are operating without the proper permits to meet public demand.

Candidate for District Attorney Genevieve Jones-Wright said the council has a chance to regulate and not criminalize the businesses.

"They actually want to be under the purview of the law, and do what's right under the law. They don't want to operate in the black market," Jones-Wright said.

Jones-Wright is employed as a deputy public defender. 

"We have a county of 4,500 square miles, 3.3 million. About 35 million visitors a year," said Elizabeth Wilhelm, President of the SD Cannabis Delivery Alliance. "We are gonna try to meet that need come January 1 with 16 licensed dispensaries, and the only delivery that would happen is through those licensed dispensaries, and logistically it's simply not going to happen."

California voters passed Proposition 64 in November 2016, allowing those over age 21 to legally use marijuana and the sale of the drug to be taxed. 

Previously, marijuana was legal only for medicinal purposes and with a doctor's authorization.

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The map above was created by NBC 7 Investigates to show where both licensed and unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries are operating in San Diego County as of February 9, 2017. 

NOTE: The map is best viewed on mobile devices. 

Highlights of the map: 

  • Areas in the cities of San Diego and La Mesa allowing medical marijuana operations are shaded on the map in zones colored “green.”

  • Areas in the cities of San Diego and La Mesa where medical marijuana operations are prohibited are shaded on the map in zones colored “red.”

  • Legal, licensed marijuana operations are marked on the map with a “green” pushpin.

  • Unlicensed marijuana operations are marked on the map with a “red” pushpin.

  • A filter allows you to toggle between viewing “licensed” dispensaries, “unlicensed” dispensaries or “both” at the same time.

  • Another toggle option allows you to see where schools are located in comparison to dispensaries.

  • Clicking on any individual map point (dispensary, school or zone) allows you to learn more about the location. 

NOTE: If map turns gray in an area, it is still loading. To fix the issue refresh your web browser. 

To create the map above, NBC 7 Investigates used data obtained through the California Public Records Act and the website The data was last collected on February 9, 2017. 

Using permits issued by the City of San Diego and San Diego County, NBC 7 Investigates was able to map the locations of legal and licensed marijuana operations.

Using Weedmaps, described online as a resource to “find cannabis storefronts, doctors, and deals,” NBC 7 Investigates gathered location details for marijuana operations in San Diego County. By mapping the locations from Weedmaps and comparing the list of locations to city and county permits, NBC 7 Investigates was able to determine which marijuana businesses were legally operating and which were operating without a license. 

NBC 7 Investigates contacted each business listed to verify if it was operating. Dispensaries that require patients to call for an address, as indicated on WeedMaps, were not included on the map as their location was not published on a public website. 

NBC 7 Investigates has learned some of the unlicensed dispensaries labeled on WeedMaps as operating or open for business have recently been forced to shut down by law enforcement. On the map, those locations are indicated as being closed in the notes section of the individual pushpin. 

If you have an update on a location featured on this map, contact NBC 7 Investigates, or (619) 578-0393.

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