The benefits of weed delivery are many. Keeping stoned people from getting behind the wheel of a car is the most obvious. There is also the privacy factor, as well as convenience, but for medical patients who are homebound, delivery services are a genuine lifeline. Just ask “Tyrone,” a homebound vet who lost one leg to the Vietnam War and the other to diabetes brought on by alcoholism he suffered after coming home. He regrets not turning to cannabis to cope with his PTSD back in the 1970s. Now he medicates with a variety of concentrates and edibles to cope with stress, depression, and insomnia. That he can anonymously place an order and receive a dosage “without having to deal with the world” makes cannabis delivery an easy decision for him. “My guy knows me,” he says with a chuckle. “Sometimes I just say hello and he answers with ‘One Tyrone special, comin’ up!’ ”
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.
In the county, only San Diego, Lemon Grove and La Mesa have ordinances allowing medical marijuana dispensaries. San Diego is alone in having cleared a path for recreational cannabis sales.
Prop. 64 pertained to recreational marijuana, but its broad voter support has also prompted a renewed push in recent months for medical cannabis dispensaries. That includes in Vista, where the medical marijuana industry and the City Council have dueling dispensary plans.
The group Vistans for Better Community Access will soon gather signatures for a ballot measure that would allow up to 10 medical marijuana dispensaries. An alternative proposal from the council would permit a maximum of two dispensaries and place tighter restrictions on where they can open.
The Council, which was staunchly opposed to dispensaries until the petition came along, has argued it put forth a plan to retain local control.
Vince Duffy, a Sacramento-based campaign consultant who’s leading the initiative campaign, said two dispensaries aren’t enough to meet patient demand.
This will be the group’s second time collecting signatures. More than 7,000 signatures submitted earlier this year — enough to qualify for the ballot — were invalidated because of a paperwork error. Now, the group is aiming to put the measure before voters in four to five months, said Duffy.
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.
“We don’t want to be against marijuana for the sake of being against marijuana. It has nothing to do with just being prohibitionists,” he said. “We want to collaborate and work together and figure out what are good public health policies and what are good regulations.”
Scott Chipman, head of the anti-legalization group San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods, said residents are increasingly concerned over marijuana and want to lend the group a hand.
But Chipman fears that the message of groups against cannabis will be drowned out by a marijuana industry that appears to be growing more powerful.
“We will try to inform by showing up at city council meetings, county supervisor meetings and planning group meetings,” he said.
Oceanside, too, is re-evaluating its stance on cannabis after facing a medical marijuana ballot measure, which is on hold. Last month, the Council set up an ad hoc committee to study cultivation, distribution and sales of marijuana. The committee will report back to the full Council in five months with options for regulations.
Councilman Jerry Kern sits on the ad hoc committee and suggested forming it, even though he voted against Prop 64.
Kern said given Oceanside’s support of Prop 64, maintaining the city ban runs the risk of a ballot initiative that would limit the city’s say on the number of dispensaries and their locations.
“The problem with ballot-box initiatives or ballot-box zoning is that the city loses all control,” Kern said. “We want to get out ahead of this.”
Kern said he’s also heard from struggling farmers who are interested in growing cannabis. It’s a similar story in Encinitas, where a council subcommittee is exploring marijuana cultivation in hopes of saving what’s left of the flower industry.
The local group Oceanside for a Safer Community earlier this year planned a measure to potentially allow up to 10 dispensaries. David Newman of the group said it hit the pause button on the initiative to work with the ad-hoc committee on regulations. He added that the group is prepared to resume the initiative if the Council again denies medical dispensaries.
Hezekiah Allen is the executive director of the California Growers Association, which also wants to end the Board of Supervisors’ ban on cultivation. Allen said ballot measures tend to be costly and divisive, but an initiative may be the only route given the board’s repeated opposition.
“Whenever you see an imbalance between the voters and the elected officials, I think that ballot measures become much more practical and likely, and I think we’ve reached that point in San Diego,” Allen said.
While the potential measure from the Southern California Responsible Growers Council only covers the unincorporated areas, it would go before the entire county for a vote. That seemingly bodes well for the initiative’s chances, considering that more than 57 percent of county residents backed Prop 64.
“Looking at the voter data, it’s a sea change in cultural attitudes and public opinion,” said Vince Vasquez, an independent elections analyst, regarding Prop. 64 versus a failed 2010 state ballot measure to legalize marijuana.
Beyond local initiatives, the medical marijuana industry plans to flex its muscle in other races.
Phil Rath, executive director of United Medical Marijuana Coalition in San Diego, said the group plans to fundraise for marijuana-friendly candidates in the city of San Diego. The group has yet to determine which candidates it will endorse.
Although San Diego allows dispensaries, Rath said there’s still much to be decided. For instance, the coalition is advocating at the local and state levels that dispensaries be able to sell both medical and recreational marijuana, instead of picking one.
“Our view is that the regulation of the industry is going to be an ongoing conversation,” Rath said.
San Diego legalized recreational pot dispensaries on Tuesday and the city also opened up the possibility it will allow pot farms, manufacturing facilities and testing labs.
San Diego is the first city in San Diego County to approve recreational marijuana sales since state voters approved Proposition 64 in November, and no other cities in the county have indicated they intend to follow suit.
Sales of recreational pot will begin when statewide regulations being crafted in Sacramento are completed sometime before January 2018. Dispensaries along the coast may have to wait for Coastal Commission approval, but city officials said that’s expected by October.
The San Diego City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to allow the sale of recreational marijuana at 15 dispensaries approved by the city to sell medical marijuana, pending the state action.
Council members also agreed to consider later this year approving regulations for commercial cultivation, testing and distribution of marijuana in bud and other forms, such as edibles.
Specific regulations for those activities weren’t available for the council to approve on Tuesday because city staff and the San Diego Police Department had recommended the city ban them based on concerns about crime and other potential problems.
Council members said they were partly motivated by the November election, when 62% of city voters approved Proposition 64.
“They told us what they expect us to do,” said Councilman Chris Ward, noting that Proposition 64 also allows local governments to legalize cultivation, manufacturing and testing.
Read original article from the LA Times here by David Garrick February 1, 2017, 8:50AM
A Green Alternative: Leading the Change in San Diego’s Transforming Cannabis Industry
A Green Alternative is the first permitted dispensary in San Diego County, and also the first in San Diego to partner
with Meadow. They deliver all over the city and set themselves apart by the high quality of their products, their
concern for patients, and their focus on customer service. We sat down with AGA’s COO Zach Lazarus to talk about
our favorite plant and the future of the cannabis industry.
Meadow: Hey Zach, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Let’s jump right in: can you tell us a bit about how
you got started in the industry? Why cannabis?
Zach: After I met my partners, I saw the good they were providing in the community and wanted to participate in
that. I got to see first hand how they were helping people, especially cancer patients, and I wanted to get involved.
“I got to see first hand how cannabis was
helping people, especially cancer patients.”
Meadow: So what were some of the challenges that you faced while building and growing your dispensary?
Zach: One of the biggest was definitely the lack of traditional banking. There are no small loans to help grow
operations or smooth cash flow. Then there are the issues with taxation: the unfairness around 280E and not
letting businesses claim their expenses means we get taxed multiple times on the same dollar. Also there are
concerns about safety when serving our community. Unlike pharmacies, we have an armed guard to make sure
our patients are protected.
There is a big split between the operators of lawful and unlawful dispensaries: on issues of safety, taxation, and
serving the community the differences are huge. We have to consider issues of general liability and workers comp
insurance, while unlicensed dispensaries cut corners and pay employees under the table. This has made the
market pretty saturated, but it’s just a matter of time before municipalities, counties and the state are all
aggressively closing unlawful dispensaries. This has already started happening in Chula Vista, where they are
switching from civil to criminal penalties.
“There is a big split between the operators of lawful
and unlawful dispensaries: on issues of safety, taxation,
and serving the community the differences are huge.”
Looking at the future of cannabis
Meadow: Big changes are under way. Can you tell us a little bit about how you found Meadow?
Zach: Well, [Meadow CEO David] Hua gets it. Meadow is educating people about cannabis, and their founders have
the vision for a medicinal revolution of cannabis. Others will try to copy and fail, but Meadow’s platform and
business model will set them up to be like the General Electric of cannabis, the go-to provider for licensed
dispensaries and delivery services serving patients.
Meadow: That’s very flattering! We do have a big vision, but so do our partners, exceptional people like you. So
what advice would you give budding cannabis entrepreneurs? What does it take to be successful in the cannabis
Zach: Look at all the future licensing opportunities, and find one that fits your mold or where you believe you could
pursue a business model that would be successful. Next, operate legitimately at the municipal level, and be ready
for state licensing by 2018. There are opportunities out there, you just have to find them. I think Humboldt may be
saturated right now, but we’ll have to wait and see.
“Meadow’s founders have the vision for a medicinal
revolution of cannabis… [They will be] the go-to provider
for licensed dispensaries and delivery services.”
Meadow: That’s an interesting thought. Right now land prices there are rising quickly, and possibly unsustainably.
What do you see as the future of cannabis, say in the next 5–10 years?
Zach: My personal take is that Proposition 64 [the Adult Use of Marijuana Act] will pass in November. After that
happens we have a year of compliance before recreational sales start. I expect that prices will spike, leading to
bubble, and we may see a typical gram go up to $40 even. This will lead to a a larger black market forming, until it all
comes crashing down to maybe as low as $6 a gram once new facilities are licensed and come online. This will make
cannabis far more accessible than under prohibition.
“Proposition 64 will pass in November. After that happens
we have a year of compliance before recreational sales start.”
Meadow: Well, it sounds like we have an interesting time ahead of us! Thank so much for taking the time to speak
with us Zach.
Zach: Thank you! Looking forward to continuing our partnership to bring cannabis to the world.
Meadow builds software for the medical cannabis industry in California.
To learn more about turnkey software for your storefront, delivery, and back office, visit www.meadowplatform.com
Article reposted from:
Musings from the Meadow
on Medium.com here
San Diego, here’s a puzzle while you wait for your marijuana delivery.
For more great puzzles visit jigsawplanet.com.