California voters may have spoken on recreational marijuana in November, but rather than settling the issue, that vote has set the stage for several local battles over whether to allow marijuana operations.
Because Proposition 64 passed last fall, state licensing to marijuana businesses is slated to begin Jan. 1, 2018 — though local jurisdictions have the power to forbid them in their boundaries.
That has teed up a new set of pot-related efforts, from a group seeking to overturn the County Board of Supervisors’ ban to cities softening their stances on marijuana in the face of voter petition drives.
In March, the County Board of Supervisors banned new recreational and medical cannabis operations in unincorporated areas of the county, while phasing out existing medical marijuana dispensaries. Yet the matter could be headed for a public vote.
The Southern California Responsible Growers Council is exploring a 2018 ballot initiative that would give the green light to pot farms and medical marijuana dispensaries. Specifics are still being hammered out, said Adrian Kwiatkowski, the executive director of the group, which includes farmers feeling the pinch of rising labor and water costs.
“You have the voters of the county saying one thing, and the supervisors saying something else,” Kwiatkowski said. Recreational marijuana shops aren’t part of the initiative because they’re more likely to be targeted should the federal government crack down on cannabis, he said.
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Seems somewhat regional for "across the county." Was it a toll call from Encinitas to the South Bay?
It is surprising that Craig Belsen of North Coast Prevention would say this:
"Craig Balben, president of North Coastal Prevention Coalition — a nonprofit that educates on drug and alcohol abuse — said the marijuana industry too often turns to the ballot box instead of compromising on regulations.
'My experience has shown me that the industry is not necessarily willing to work on any regulations. They want to force their will on cities,' Balben said. He also expressed concern over dispensaries increasing teen access' in as much as they have taken a zero tolerance for medical cannabis.'"
When in reality, North Coast Prevention and San Diego for Safe Nieghborhoods has spent a lot of money (some of it public funds) to lobby against safe cannabis regulations and, thus have been perpetuating a lawless market, for years.
Local law makers listened to Scott Chipman and Craig Belben, San Diego's vocal prohibitionist profiteers, as they forced their will on and against the will of voters, for years.
Ballot measures are what comes out of one side refusing to compromise on the very existence of a cannabis market and sensible regulations. It is a last straw and a line of defense against people like Craig who highjack the will of the voters.
Craig Belben has fought for years to keep regulations from being discussed in any meaningful way. it is hypocritical and entirely false to say the cannabis market doesn't want regulations when it is the cannabis consumer side who have driven all discussion on regulating for the passed decade or more in San Diego. While the other side shuts down discussion, refuses to allow the public into their planning meetings and hide any public money they get.
Let's see an annual report from North Coast Prevention. Who is paying them? Tax payers? Are they using public funds intended to educate children on good choices, to lobby against state law? What about the children? What are they getting while Belben draws a salary to combat safe regulations for medical cannabis?