The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has passed a ban on cannabis farms and dispensaries in unincorporated areas, which will force the three dispensaries in the areas to close by 2022 and two more that are still in the permitting process to close in five years if they open at all, the San Diego Tribune reports. The ban, which was not supported by the county’s planning commission, will not impact regulations in incorporated areas.
Planning Commissioner Bryan Woods said the ban will only encourage the illicit market, forcing patients to purchase products that could be harmful, or that the illegal trade would become a public nuisance.
“An unregulated industry without controls, the black market will put product on the market that could be inferior or tainted,” he said in the report.
Lincoln Fish, CEO of Outliers Collective in unincorporated El Cajon, called both the ban and the sunset requirements unfair.
“We played by the rules, exactly the rules that were put forth,” he said. “We did everything we can to play by those rules. And now you’re changing the game on us.”
Supervisor Greg Cox, who voted against the ban, said he expects advocates and cannabis business owners to launch a ballot initiative to overturn the board’s decision. His colleague, Supervisor Dianne Jacob who championed the measure, pointed to problems in Colorado’s legal cannabis industry as justification for the ban.
“We only need to look at Colorado to realize that the legalization of marijuana has been a disaster and has not produced the net revenue,” she said.
Advocates could make their ballot push as early as 2018 when term limits will force out Supervisor Bill Horn – who voted for the measure – and Supervisor Ron Roberts – who voted against it. Jacob will reach her term limit in 2020.
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