San Diego Takes Steps to Legalize Weed in Unincorporated Areas

The San Diego Board of Supervisors’ new Democratic majority is already tackling cannabis reform, with a big social justice component to boot.

Last week, the dais approved a set of cannabis policies introduced by Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas. The changes would permit cannabis retail sales, manufacturing, and cultivation in unincorporated San Diego, where commercial weed has been banned since 2017. The county would establish an equity program to help people with prior marijuana convictions apply for cannabis permits. Marijuana dispensaries with 10 employees would have to enter into labor agreements as well.

“We know that many communities have been devastated by the war on drugs and disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. We seek to undo these past wrongs by centering social justice at the core of our cannabis approach,” said Supervisor Fletcher.

“Right now, we have unlicensed operations with potentially unsafe products being sold in the unincorporated area. This harms the five operators who are currently operating in the unincorporated area, as well as those who are operating legally elsewhere in our region.”

The policies passed 4-1, with Jim Desmond dissenting. Before the overhaul is final, the county will gather community input. The changes still need final approval from the Board.