San Diego County starts work on marijuana social equity program

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One of the few remaining major metro California markets that doesn’t have a marijuana social equity program began down that path when the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to begin crafting such a law.

According to San Diego TV station KUSI, county officials gave the green light to multiple ordinances that will be designed to “expand farming, manufacturing and retail opportunities … in the unincorporated parts of the county” in the marijuana industry.

The initiatives will be written in coming months.

“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,” Board Chair Nathan Fletcher said, according to KUSI.

Though details are sparse, the board agreed on an overall framework that will include:

  • Making social equity a centerpiece of the licensing for retail, manufacturing and cultivation.
  • Cracking down on unlicensed cannabis businesses, including aggressive new code enforcement and civil fines.
  • Zoning setbacks to keep marijuana companies away from schools and other sensitive areas.
  • Mandatory labor peace agreements for businesses with 10 employees or more.

Meanwhile, the city of San Diego is slowly moving toward creating a social equity program for its local marijuana industry, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in November.

Social equity programs have already been started in most other major California metro areas, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco with varying degrees of success.