San Diego County Supervisors ban marijuana facilities in unincorporated areas

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on March 21, 2017.

Just four months after a majority of San Diego County voters supported to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana, the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday voted 3-2 to ban all marijuana businesses in unincorporated county areas.

Supervisors Dianne Jacob, Kristin Gaspar and Bill Horn voted for the ban while Greg Cox and Ron Roberts voted against it.

Supervisor Jacob cited concerns over the fact that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and whether the Trump administration could opt to enforce federal law, while Gasper stated that voters all the time approve measures that require local elected officials to manage the unintended consequences.

More than 50 people applied to speak before the Board to voice their thoughts for and against the ban.

The ban was opposed by the San Diego Farm Bureau, medical marijuana patients, recreational pot advocates, and dispensary owners.  It was supported by anti-drug speakers and some rural residents.

"We ought to grow it, and we ought to have facilities conveniently located throughout the county including my neighborhood and your neighborhood and everybody else's neighborhood, which is in a very controlled way, can provide for the sale," Roberts, who voted against the ban, said. "We don't want kids to have it, there's no question about that."

The ban includes all medical and non-medical marijuana facilities, licensed dispensaries, marijuana farming and hemp. Three dispensaries that are operating must close by 2022. Two that are in the permitting process may still open up, but must also close in five years.

In November 2016, around 57 percent of county voters supported Proposition 64, a ballot measure that makes recreational marijuana legal, regulated, and eventually, taxable. It also gave local governments the ability to regulate where marijuana facilities could be located, or ban them entirely.

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