medicalcannabis: San Diego County OKs expansion of backcountry marijuana shops

San Diego County OKs expansion of backcountry marijuana shops

Okt 9, 21 om 20:07
San Diego County OKs expansion of backcountry marijuana shops
San Diego —
Five marijuana businesses in unincorporated county areas can expand operations following a split decision by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Wednesday.

The 4-1 vote removes the sunset date from the permits of the five dispensaries and allows them to expand facility size and to offer a wider variety of products.

Supervisor Jim Desmond opposed updating the marijuana ordinance.

“I’m really not hearing the need for more dispensaries or for the expansion,” said Desmond, one of two supervisors, along with Joel Anderson, whose districts include a majority of unincorporated land in San Diego.

We’re opening up a Pandora’s box. There’s also a concern regarding traffic (and) biological and cultural resources.”

The board’s action provides some certainty for the five cannabis business owners, whose permits had been slated to expire on April 14, 2022. Now there is no expiration date.

The vote allows them to expand their facilities up to 10,000 square feet without undergoing environmental review. They also will be able to provide marijuana for adult recreational use as well as medical purposes and can now sell edible and drinkable products as well as branded merchandise.

The decision also removes a water restriction that had limited marijuana growers to using only municipal drinking water for irrigation. Under the new rules they can use local groundwater as well.

Dispensary owners said the changes ensure long-term stability for their businesses and enable them to compete with illegal dispensaries that pop up throughout the backcountry.

Ramona Community Planning Group encourages public input on proposed regulations to the county’s cannabis industry.
Ramona Community Planning Group encourages public input on proposed regulations to the county’s cannabis industry.

(Julie Gallant)

“Illegal shops have an unfair advantage,” said Tony Cioe, owner of Releaf Meds in Ramona. “They pay no taxes and have no regulatory expenses. Illegal shops, I believe, are the cause of many of the problems we see in the county. Our legal facilities offer a safe alternative.”

Ramona Community Planning Group will hear information and collect comments about marijuana businesses at its March 4 meeting.
Ramona Community Planning Group will hear information and collect comments about marijuana businesses at its March 4 meeting.

(Sentinel file photo)

Greg McCluskey, owner of Ramona Cannabis Company, echoed Cioe’s complaints about illegal pot shops and said edible products are important for cancer patients and others who use them for pain relief.

“The average customer can’t tell the difference between an illicit shop or a legally licensed shop, and we need to do more to get rid of the illicit shops,” McCluskey said. “Many cancer patients also need these medicines, and they need it to be more convenient.”

Critics argued that the county has not addressed health and safety issues arising from the expansion of the legal marijuana market.

Speakers said they’re concerned about the physical and mental health risks of teen marijuana use and said the county hasn’t spelled out the training and enforcement it would require to prevent minors from purchasing or obtaining pot products.

Many marijuana products contain high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Allowing the sale of edible and drinkable products, often marketed as cookies, gummies or soda, will entice young users, critics said, noting that the county has banned similarly flavored tobacco products.

“There is clear research connecting high potency THC and addiction and mental health problems,” said K.C. Strang, executive director of the San Marcos Prevention Coalition. “We are concerned about the contradiction that flavored tobacco is harmful — yet flavored marijuana is fine?”

Suzanne Hume, founder of CleanEarth4Kids, said she developed a chronic lung condition after accidental pesticide exposure and worries about similar hazards from marijuana growers.

“I am very concerned about the increased use of pesticides,” she said. “I am very concerned about chemicals getting into our air and our water ... The parents that we have at CleanEarth4Kids are absolutely against this expansion.”

Some also warned that allowing on-site consumption of marijuana products could worsen traffic hazards on rural roads and questioned whether law enforcement authorities have developed an effective means of identifying impaired drivers.

“Our roads are extremely dangerous, and drivers coming through these areas have difficulty navigating speed and terrain when they are not impaired,” Julian resident Jean Duffy said. “Putting stoned drivers on the roads will only lead to more accidents and deaths.”

The board also heard an update on its equity measures, which aim to open the cannabis industry to women and minorities.

Minorities, in particular, have been arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for marijuana sales over the years, advocates say, but now that it’s legal to sell cannabis products, many of the businesses are owned by non-minorities.

Attorney Andrea St. Julian said the county has fallen short of the goal of making entry into the legal cannabis business equitable by failing to put any specific social equity measures into its conditions for permits allowing the five existing dispensaries to expand.

“This ordinance as proposed gives the five county operators a boondoggle at the expense of social equity,” St. Julian said.

McCluskey said he and the other original cannabis business owners are ready to help new entrepreneurs get started.

“We will continue to give of our time, talents and means to further the cause of those from underserved communities,” he said.

Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said the county is working to develop equity guidelines and they would apply equally to all new and existing dispensaries once the county rolls out a larger plan for the marijuana industry.

Where to Buy Weed Legally Near Me: Best Online Marijuana Dispensaries & Vendors
If you’re searching for “weed near me,” you’ve come to the right place. Good weed can be hard to find and is still illegal in many places, but delta 8 THC is a great alternative.

This article is a complete guide on buying weed in the U.S., including information on local dispensaries, online stores, delivery services, and delta 8 THC.

Here’s everything you need to know about buying quality products that are safe and legal.

Best Marijuana Dispensaries Near Me: What Are the Options?
Your options will depend on where you live in the United States. For states with legalized recreational marijuana, you’re allowed to purchase weed from dispensaries or online.

If you’re living in a state where marijuana is only legal for medical use, you’re required to obtain a medical marijuana card before purchasing from government-approved sources.

Online dispensaries provide customers with the widest variety of options available compared to a traditional retail dispensary. You can easily check reviews, shop for the best price, study the brand and find the exact strain you’re looking for. Not to mention, you can have marijuana delivered right to your doorstep, says We Be High in one of their review.

If recreational marijuana isn’t legalized where you live, you do have the option of finding weed on the black market. Of course, there are many downsides to using dealers as your source.

Dispensaries vs. Dealers
Despite the increased legalization of marijuana, the black market won’t be going away anytime soon. There are many reasons you should buy from dispensaries rather than dealers, though.

First, it’s illegal to purchase weed outside of a dispensary, and you could end up in legal trouble.

Aside from the law, there are safety concerns as well. Dealers won’t provide any assurance about the harvesting process, cultivation method, or purity of their weed. Some dealers even sell marijuana laced with biological or chemical toxins to increase potency, putting you at risk.

Also, you won’t have a good variety of strains or products to choose from, and you won’t know important information such as THC percentage. Without these things, it’s impossible to get a product that gives you the effects you need.

Dispensaries, on the other hand, must comply with state regulations to ensure that their products are correctly labeled.

Can You Legally Buy Weed Online?
Though weed is legal in some states, you can’t have it shipped or delivered across state lines.

Many marijuana dispensaries either run their own delivery service or use a third-party delivery group. These groups are usually owned and operated from within a state or area.

Not all online sites offer delivery services. However, most dispensaries will allow customers to order online for pickup.

The best option is to call the store to ensure they take online orders.

If weed is illegal in your state, you won’t be able to buy it online. Instead, try delta 8 THC.

Delta 8 THC vs. Delta 9 THC: What’s Better?
When it comes to buying weed, the main issue is its legal status. Individual states can legalize it, though many haven’t. However, delta 8 THC is an alternative solution that is legal in most states in the U.S.

What’s the difference between the two?

Most people confuse delta 9 THC and delta 8 THC since both are cannabinoids with psychoactive effects. Delta 8 THC provides similar effects to delta 9 THC, such as euphoria, sedation, and a “high.”

However, delta 8 THC has a less potent psychoactive effect, making it much more enjoyable for consumers.

Delta 9 THC, because of its strength, can cause paranoia and anxiety.

Benefits of Delta 8 THC
In addition to its lower potency, Delta 8 THC has properties that may offer many health benefits.

Antiemetic: Delta 8 THC can be used to reduce the feeling of nausea and keep vomiting at bay. This can be effective for people who are experiencing side effects from cancer treatment or Crohn’s disease.
Anxiolytics: Some users report relief from stress and anxiety when using delta 8 THC.
Analgesic: Delta 8 THC may be able to offer pain relief and even reduce inflammation.
Appetite-stimulating: Similar to Delta 9, Delta 8 will also increase your appetite. This can be an effective solution for those who struggle to eat due to health conditions.
Neuroprotective: Delta-8 produces acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps with neuroplasticity, cognition, and consolidation.
Benefits of Delta 9 THC
Delta 9 THC is known for its psychoactive effect, but there are health benefits, too:

Poor appetite
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Legal Differences
The 2018 Farm Bill states that hemp-derived products are permitted as long as they contain under 0.3% of delta 9 THC. Delta 8 THC is legal as long as it meets these criteria and your state hasn’t banned it.

Delta 9 THC remains illegal on a federal level.

Best Delta 8 THC Vendors
If you’re looking to experiment with delta 8 THC products, you’ll find a wide selection of products to choose from. This includes vape cartridges, flowers, capsules, tinctures, and even beverages and edibles.

With the abundance of brands available at your disposal, it can be challenging to find the right one. Many consumers go for the lowest price instead of looking for quality.

Here are the top 5 Delta 8 THC vendors that provide transparent standards and high-quality ingredients.

1. Area 52
Area 52 is the gold standard in the cannabis industry. Its premium delta 8 THC extracts are made from organic hemp using a supercritical CO2 extraction and come in traditional formats like tinctures, edibles, and vapes.

Area 52 has also been mentioned as one of the best delta 8 THC brands in the industry by CFAH, Bellevue Reporter, Peninsula Daily News, The Daily World, and dozens of other media outlets.

Each product is thoroughly tested at various manufacturing stages and has a batch-specific certificate of analysis (COA) displaying the cannabinoid profile, potency, and content analysis.

2. Finest Labs
Finest Labs specializes in delta 8 THC extracts and has products similar to Area 52, except in lower concentrations.

This vendor is great for lightweight users who have a low tolerance to THC products or are trying delta 8 THC for the first time. It’s easy to work your way up since the THC amount starts low. Consumers can receive all of the health benefits without getting edgy.

In addition, since their products have lower potencies, the price of the product is also lower. Finest Labs is a great pick for affordable yet high-quality delta 8 THC products.

Finest Labs has been recommended by a number of popular websites, including Federal Way Mirror, Bainbridge Review, Homer News, and many others.

3. SnapDragon Hemp
SnapDragon Hemp offers a broad selection of hemp products at affordable prices. Similar to the other brands, potency and content analysis are available for each product.

4. 3Chi
3Chi has biochemists focused on producing delta 8 THC products and is a veteran in the industry with over 15 years of cannabinoid research and formulation experience.

The team openly publishes up-to-date lab reports for all THC products and offers a wide selection of delta 8 THC products such as gummies, vape cartridges, moon rocks, flowers, and tinctures.

5. Apotheca
Apotheca isn’t a delta 8 manufacturer but rather a third-party vendor for delta 8 THC products.

This company sells a variety of delta 8 THC products. Some of these products are excellent in terms of quality; others lack the necessary testing and proof of purity one should expect to see from a delta 8 vendor.

Delta 8 THC Near Me: Why Choose Online Vendors?
Delta 8 THC is a booming and thriving market that offers products similar to other cannabis extracts. But many fly-by-night shops are looking to make fast money and don’t provide transparency, and leave consumers with a bad experience.

Products sold locally usually have no labeling, testing, or manufacturing standards. Here are reasons why you should choose online vendors over retail shops.

1. Better Selection
Local vendors typically only have a few delta 8 THC products available, such as vapes and tinctures. Online stores will provide a wide array of products to choose from, such as edibles, distillates, concentrates, flowers, and more.

In addition, these delta 8 THC products come in various flavors and concentrations, so you choose the form that best suits your needs and preferences.

2. Buy Closer to the Source
Without a middleman involved, you’re buying much closer to the source. Many online vendors are the manufacturers and perform the extraction process.

In the case of local retail stores, they are simply receiving the products from elsewhere and rarely know the source.

It’s important to buy products made using organic hemp. This ensures clean flowers that are rich in cannabinoids. Mass-produced hemp from some manufacturers can be less potent and contain additives or chemicals.

3. Better Transparency
Many online vendors will list the manufacturer and lab testing information. When shopping locally, you’ll need to trust the information from the store’s staff. Most don’t do third-party testing or have information available.

4. More Convenient
Online shopping is more convenient than shopping locally. You can sort through prices, flavors, formulations, and potencies in the comfort of your home.

If a retail shop doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you’ll have to go to another store to find what you want.

Online vendors also accept credit cards as a form of payment, while some dispensaries only accept cash.

5. Better Prices
There are always middlemen involved in retail shops. Traditional retailers need to cover various expenses such as rent, utilities, and payroll. This means they need to charge higher prices for their products.

Since online vendors don’t have a middleman involved, they can offer better prices, and many have discounts or reward programs.

Buy Delta 8 THC Legally & Safely
Remember to be cautious whenever buying these types of products. Be sure to check local laws, and always look for trustworthy retailers.

The vendors mentioned above can help you secure the right product at reasonable prices.

Any valid vendor will make the buying experience flawless, allowing you to find the product right for you, whether it’s weed or delta 8 THC.

5 medical cannabis businesses get OK to expand, sell recreational weed
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Wednesday voted 4-1 to approve zoning changes that will allow five existing medical marijuana businesses to expand their facilities as well as begin selling recreational cannabis products.

Located in unincorporated communities, the five facilities will now be able to sell edibles, drinkable marijuana products and branded merchandise, expand by 10,000 square feet and transfer business licenses among existing permit holders.

Previously classified as non-profit medical marijuana collectives, the five facilities are:

Outliers Collective, 8157 Wing Ave., El Cajon;
Ramona Cannabis Co., 736 Montecito Way, Ramona;
Releaf Meds, 618 Pine St., Ramona;
Olive Tree Wellness Center/JAXX Cannabis, 1210 Olive St., Ramona; and
San Diego Natural/OutCo, 8530 Nelson Way, Escondido.
Supervisors also approved a process by which the five dispensaries can voluntarily comply with community design requirements — with assistance from the county Planning and Development Services Department — and use groundwater, along with municipal sources, for cultivation.

In June, the board voted to allow the five facilities to operate past a previous "sunset date" of April 14, 2022.

RELATED: Escondido won't budge on cannabis dispensaries ban

Four years ago, supervisors voted to ban cannabis businesses in the county's unincorporated region.

Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher described the process as a "multi-year journey."

He added that Wednesday's action was about "taking five folks who have been jerked around for years and years," and resolving their status.

But Supervisor Jim Desmond, who voted against the zoning changes, said bigger facilities equaled bigger risk.

As someone who represents unincorporated areas, Desmond said, he's "not hearing outcry for more dispensaries."

Desmond also expressed concerns about the facilities expanding without meeting certain community design guidelines, and how that seemed unfair to other types of businesses.

"We're opening up a Pandora's box here," he said. "I don't want to see us ramrod through here a new policy."

During an hour-long public hearing, supervisors heard from both industry representatives and those opposed to any further liberalization of county marijuana policy.

Greg McCluskey of the Ramona Cannabis Company said allowing the facilities to expand will improve access for medical marijuana patients, especially those with cancer.

McCluskey added his business is committed to social equity and supporting women and minorities in their business.

Ren Bowden, of Jaxx Cannabis, said his company is "very proud of our work. Our loyal patients are as diverse as the community that surrounds us."

Bowden said his businesses will work with the Ramona Community Planning Group, and is also involved with Paving Great Futures, a nonprofit organization that works with underserved or marginalized residents.

Becky Rapp, a Ramona Community Planning Group member, said she couldn't believe the county would change the rules for just five dispensaries. No other business has been granted this type of privilege, she said, adding the board's actions "remove all oversight and accountability" by planning groups.

K.C. Strang, an official with the San Marcos Prevention Coalition, said it's a contradiction for the county to ban flavored tobacco but allow the sale of cannabis edibles.

"We are concerned that this decision will not be based on our public's health," he added.

County resident Mark Wilcox questioned whether it was worth spending county government time and resources to allow marijuana facilities to expand.

"Let's seek solutions for the mental health crisis in our county," he added.

One woman told supervisors that edibles are unregulated, with no caps on THC amounts, which "is a recipe for disaster." She added that limitations on the amount of THC in edible and drinkable products are needed.

Supervisors will also consider a social equity program for the cannabis industry in unincorporated communities, although that may not be ready for approval until next year.

In August, the board unanimously approved increased law enforcement of illegal marijuana shops in unincorporated areas.

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