San Diego Weighing Rule Changes to Increase Dispensaries by 40%

San Diego officials are gathering feedback on a proposal to eliminate certain zoning rules that could increase the number of cannabis dispensaries in the city by up to 40%.

Full story after the jump.

Officials in San Diego, California are considering a proposal to eliminate city rules that prevent cannabis dispensaries from opening near churches, parks, libraries, and playgrounds which would increase the number of dispensaries by as much as 40%, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Supporters say the proposal would allow the opening of the 36 dispensaries envisioned by officials when they were legalized nearly eight years ago, the report says.

Currently, there are 23 dispensaries operating in the city because of the zoning rules that prohibit the businesses from opening within 1,000 feet from locations considered of “sensitive uses.” The plan would still include schools, childcare centers, and minor-oriented facilities on that list of sensitive uses, but it would shrink that distance from 1,000 feet to 600 feet.

Last week, the city Planning Commission and council’s Land Use Commission deferred decisions on the proposal until February in order to gather feedback from residents and community leaders; however, members of both panels indicated they were open to adjusting the rules dictating where dispensaries could open, which have been in place since 2014.

Council President Sean Elo-Rivera said he doesn’t “have a reflexive opposition to creating a more nuanced approach to where cannabis businesses operate.”

The proposal would also allow dispensaries to expand their hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Since 2014, San Diego has made at least three changes to its cannabis law to the benefit of the industry. Scott Chipman, head of San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods, told the Union-Tribune that each of those changes has reduced “the protections of the public.”

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