San Diego is initiating a new Cannabis Permitting Bureau to improve enforcement of city laws and to abrogate licenses of dispensaries and production facilities that frequently violate these rules and regulations.
About The Bureau
The yearly budget of the bureau is approximately $1 million. It has hired nine full-time workers. The main aim of the bureau is to centralize the permit approval and renewal process for the city’s cannabis businesses since the industry is continuously growing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, authorized cannabis production facilities has initiated. Even more authorized dispensaries began to function all around the city.
Business At San Diego
There was a significant increase in the business at San Diego dispensaries since they were declared necessary operations as soon as the pandemic hit the city. However, according to industry managers, the sales have reduced since then.
An essential factor has been that several purchasers switched towards deliveries instead of in-store purchases. Here the authorized dispensaries have to deal with fierce competition from the cannabis black market of the area.
Other businesses are enforcing safety measures such as cleaning facilities and the provision of personal protecting outfits for the employees. Hence, the industry also has to deal with similar problems.
Unfortunately, cannabis businesses are not worthy for federal stimulus money. Particularly because the federal law still considers the drug marijuana as illegal to buy, sell, produce or consume.
Also Read: Cannabis Might Be The Cure For COVID-19
Dual Goal Of Cannabis Permitting Bureau
According to P.J. Fitzgerald, an assistant deputy director in the Development Services Department, the city’s new Cannabis Permit Bureau is working towards centralizing approval of cannabis businesses. Moreover, their purpose is to abolish those companies that violate their highly restrictive city permits.
She further said that it’s understandable that cannabis businesses are treated different from other businesses with conditional use permits. Dispensaries are quite frequently compared with bars. Hence, the city’s new proposal will represent that.
“I think it’s the nature of the use,” Fitzgerald said of the motive behind proactive enforcement. “It also aligns the city of San Diego with other cities and jurisdictions throughout the state and country.”
The regions’s cannabis industry is embracing this new bureau. The stepped-up enforcement also is getting pleasing reviews from the industry. Generally, it has struggled to act in accordance with city laws in order to authorize businesses that were considered illegal a few years ago.
Rakesh Goyal, owner of the Apothekare dispensary in Mission Valley told that several dispensaries have a full-time worker officer that makes sure that the business follow each and every city and state laws. The owners of these dispensaries have spent a lot in order to obtain scarce city permits. As a result, it’s pointless to threaten their business with violations.
The number of dispensaries under operation reached 20 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Five more have got city approvals. Among these five, four are in the process of getting city building permits whereas the remaining one is facing hindrances due to legal proceedings.
The City Council didn’t legalize such businesses until 2017. However, some started to function before 2017 under a city loophole that awarded them business tax certificates.
At the moment, 11 production facilities are running in the city. Among them, six started to function a few years back with those tax certificates. The rest of them are brand new operations.
The council has approved 11 production facilities out of 40 in total. Of the other 29, 18 are still in the process of getting the approval whereas the remaining 11 are in the earlier stages of the process of approval.