San Diego has become the first city in California where legislation has been introduced to allow currently operating medical cannabis dispensaries the ability to sell to everyone 21 and older until the industry's statewide recreational use regulations have been finalized.
The proposed ordinance also establishes rules and guidelines for recreational cannabis outlets, which are expected to open sometime in the first half of 2018. These rules are practically identical to the rules in place for medical cannabis dispensaries; this includes a requirement of being 1,000 feet from public parks, schools, daycare centers, churches, playgrounds, libraries and - ridiculously enough - residential neighborhoods. The rules also limit the company's marketing and branding potential by prohibiting the use of symbols or graphics such as the cannabis leaf.
“While we haven’t completed a detailed review of this proposal, the city’s highly restrictive zoning for medical cannabis dispensing has proven effective at protecting the quality of life in our neighborhoods, and using the existing restrictions as the model for these new regulations is a good starting point,” said Phil Rath of the United Medical Marijuana Coalition. “We look forward to engaging this process moving forward to ensure the regulations are clear, enforceable and allow our members to continue to operate peacefully in our respective communities.”
The proposal would allow the state's medical cannabis dispensaries to become distributors of both medical and recreational cannabis once the market has been established; Colorado took a similar approach.
In California the possession and use of up to an ounce of cannabis, and the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants, is legal thanks to last month's passage of Proposition 64. Cannabis retail outlets are also allowed under the initiative, but as mentioned above won't be open until sometime in 2018.
In San Diego there are currently 15 licensed cannabis dispensaries.