The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 Wednesday to take an early step towards inserting a marijuana enterprise tax proposal on the November poll.
The board accepted a draft decision calling for a 75-word poll query, and arguments for and towards the measure, together with a fiscal affect.
The decision will nonetheless want formal board approval throughout its June 28 common assembly.
If handed by voters, the measure would have an effect on marijuana companies solely within the county’s unincorporated areas.
Supervisors Joel Anderson, Nathan Fletcher and Terra Lawson-Remer voted sure, whereas Jim Desmond was opposed.
Board Vice Chair Nora Vargas was attending a Nationwide Affiliation of Counties convention and absent from Wednesday’s assembly.
Supervisors additionally voted 3-1 to obtain a report by the HdL Corporations on hashish cultivation taxes.
Fletcher, the board chairman, mentioned Wednesday’s motion was “one other step within the progress of a secure, authorized hashish regulation.”
He added that when the board meets on June 28, it’ll think about different choices, together with suggestions for public well being outreach and youth drug prevention efforts.
“We’ll have some robust selections to make,” mentioned Fletcher, who additionally instructed a workshop to overview choices.
The agenda merchandise was a holdover from Tuesday’s assembly, which ended at 5 p.m. due to a beforehand scheduled occasion exterior the County Administration Constructing.
A socially equitable hashish coverage was first proposed early final yr. Officers say objectives embody probably eliminating the black market and addressing how anti-drug insurance policies impacted low-income and minority communities.
5 marijuana operations are presently allowed to function inside the county. Three are situated in Ramona, whereas the opposite two are in unincorporated El Cajon and Escondido. Since that point, supervisors have additionally accepted elevated regulation enforcement efforts to crack down on unlawful pot operations.
Explaining his vote Wednesday, Desmond mentioned he has no quarrel with adults utilizing authorized marijuana for medical or leisure functions, but in addition has “to take a look at how society has been going recently,” given the upper variety of overdose circumstances and drug-related suicides.
He added that suggestions reveals many individuals don’t need marijuana dispensaries or smoking lounges of their communities.
Desmond mentioned he would like that any tax revenues from the hashish business keep in unincorporated areas, however that is probably not attainable. He additionally expressed assist for utilizing revenues on socially useful wants comparable to higher psychological well being care, inexpensive housing and little one security.
“That’s the place we ought to be placing our focus now,” Desmond added.
In a associated motion Wednesday, the board voted 4-0 to advance a proposal by Anderson for 16 enhancement measures, together with restrictions on the place operations are allowed, prohibiting billboards promoting hashish, figuring out well being dangers and boosting regulation enforcement efforts towards unlawful dispensaries.
Anderson mentioned his proposal “will be sure that our unincorporated communities will flourish alongside the authorized hashish business.”
If supervisors vote in favor, sure suggestions can be added to an environmental affect report, whereas different suggestions can be used for analysis functions or require a price evaluation.
Anderson mentioned that though he by no means supported legalizing marijuana, California voters did in 2016.
Rural group character is necessary, Anderson mentioned, including, “We don’t need a Las Vegas-style facility transferring in.”
Fletcher and Lawson-Remer have been usually supportive of Anderson’s proposal, whereas Desmond mentioned it will have a optimistic affect within the unincorporated area.
Throughout two public remark intervals, these in favor of increasing marijuana companies (together with business representatives) mentioned a poll measure was a very good first step.
Virginia Casey of Blue Water Authorities Affairs, representing 5 pot retailers, mentioned she helps additional analysis and group engagement.
“Now we have a chance to include classes discovered in different cities,” Casey mentioned.
She instructed that the board ought to be sure all kinds of stakeholders — together with Black and Latino group representatives, drug prevention advocates and the Farm Bureau — are concerned in crafting insurance policies that defend susceptible residents.
Opponents, lots of them anti-drug activists or educators, mentioned any growth was a foul thought but in addition praised Anderson’s enhancement measures.
Becky Rapp mentioned she appreciated Anderson’s solutions, however mentioned the county “wouldn’t be on this scenario” if Anderson had not voted to advance the unique hashish fairness coverage within the first place.
Rapp, a robust critic of increasing marijuana companies, mentioned the county ought to ban any billboard promoting for hashish merchandise, simply as state regulation does.
Rapp added that pot consumption lounges ought to be situated in cities, not rural communities.
Up to date at 4:41 p.m. June 15, 2022
Metropolis Information Service contributed to this text.