Voters in California passed Proposition 64 last November, which legalized the growing, possession and sale of marijuana for recreational, or adult use, purposes. And last week the San Diego City Council voted to make their city the first one to approve the establishment of recreational marijuana shops in their jurisdiction when the shops are allowed statewide, something that is expected to happen in 2018.
The unanimous vote covered the legalization of recreational sales in San Diego’s 15 approved medical marijuana dispensaries as well as any additional dispensaries and shops that the city approves in the future. The council also agreed to take a look at the legalization of marijuana growing, testing, distribution and manufacturing facilities later this year.
On Election Day some 62% of San Diego voters approved Prop. 64, sending the council a clear indication of overwhelming support for recreational legalization. “I believe it is our responsibility to implement the will of the voters,” Councilwoman Barbara Bry said. “It’s also our duty to wisely and responsibly regulate every part of the supply chain in order to ensure that our consumers have a safe and vetted product.”
Other cities in CA – if their lawmakers are able to see the immense potential in allowing legal cannabis businesses – will probably soon follow in San Diego’s footsteps. Many jobs and real economic activity awaits any city that does so.
San Diego’s City Council approved the shops despite reservations from police, who said that marijuana businesses are crime magnets that will drain additional police resources. “Our take is this is going to very much negatively affect public health and public safety,” said Police Lt. Matt Novak, commanding officer of the Department’s narcotics unit.
To be fair, since prohibition has driven up the price of marijuana, shops could become targets for crime because of the valuable products they sell. But that could be said about any number of businesses. Should we start closing down banks because criminals might want to rob them? Wouldn’t security be a better solution?
And what is the alternative? Are the police saying illegal marijuana sales don’t lead to violence and other crimes? That we should leave sales to the black market where everyone is cool and there are no problems?
The fact is that we have tried cannabis prohibition and in every way, it simply does not work. Now is the time to sell legal marijuana in established businesses like we do for just about every other product and service and reap the benefits of such a decision.