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San Diego Approves Medical Marijuana Dispensary License Fees


san diego marijuana seminar asa melissa bobrowThe medical marijuana industry in California has long operated in a Wild West fashion. There are not solid state rules and regulations in place, and cities and counties either have their own rules, or no rules at all. Throw in a lot of conflicting case law and federal raids, and you can see why there has been a lot of chaos in the industry in California. San Diego has been particularly contentious during the last five years. Fortunately, there is now a licensing system in place, at least at the city level. Per KPBS:

The San Diego City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday in favor of a package of amendments to medical marijuana regulations that, among other things, establishes a minimum fee of nearly $1,100 for annual operating permits.

The amendments pertain to an ordinance that sets the terms under which dispensaries will conduct their business. The operating regulations differ from land-use restrictions, which determine the allowable locations for pot shops.

“I anticipate there will be more discussion and more changes down the road as San Diego experiences these operations actually open legally,” Councilwoman Marti Emerald said.

Among other things, the City Council wants the annual permit fee to equal the cost of inspections and other expenses needed to regulate the dispensaries. The city’s projected costs include the use of police officers to make background checks, fire personnel, zoning investigators, planners and City Treasury employees.

It will be interesting to see how dispensaries in San Diego react to the new rules and fee. A lot of them have operated for a long time with while paying no fees and didn’t have to follow any guidelines or rules for the most part. Hopefully this becomes an opportunity for the City of San Diego and the medical marijuana industry to get on the same page. Although, I’m worried about the Councilwoman’s statement above that there will be ‘more changes down the road.’ That doesn’t always mean good changes for the industry side.


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Johnny Green


  1. Prop 215 was passed 20 yrs ago
    What makes these bureaucrats
    Come to the table now?

  2. Whyiowa4medical on

    Wow, how does this compare with “fees” in other states and cities? I have heard good things about Portland, OR. as far as their fees and taxes (on us) go, but are my friends in the area accurate? That will require some study. I live in a state where only Charlotte’s Web is legal, but it is nearly impossible to have prescribed and as it contains a massive 3% THC, it is a federal and state offense to cross our border with the stuff. I would like to move to a state where I can make a living and prove some of my medical theories about cannabis. If successful, it would change the landscape of cannabis for the better and all recreational use would be considered “preventative medical” use (while a temporary pain in the ass it will seal whole flower cannabis and certain oils into the law forever) as the trend in medicine today is prevention. This is exclusive of Obamacare, which I expect to see stripped to death very soon.
    We have a sneaky enemy to fight, they are very conservative and believe that CBD compounds are all we need. With the wrong president, that person could call their cannabis program a win, satisfying everyone’s needs with something at a .25% THC and uber high CBDs. I can prove that it is not enough, even children need 3% THC to receive benefits. I do not want to go broke doing this (I doubt they will hand me a research grant) so Cali sounds like it is out, I know Colorado is yuppie expensive, leaving Washington State (where 3 large and powerful CBD companies exist) and Oregon/Alaska seem to be all that is left to me. I believe that governmental rape will be one of their key weapons and with such good happening in Oregon, that may have to be my destination. I love the weather there, but I will help to save cannabis and heavy fines (isn’t that what they amount to?) if I have to hook power up to an igloo!!!

  3. Ah. Yes. The “Wild West” where entry and exit from the market is easy. Those who best serve their customers survive. We now have regulations. Where those who best serve the regulators improve their chances. Can I have the Wild West back?

  4. The licensing requirements are obscene and most collectives do NOT qualify under these BS “regulations”

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