San Diego County Eyes $11,000 Yearly Fee For Pot Dispensaries


Graphic: San Diego Organic Wellness Association

​In what smacks of a shakedown, San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will discuss an ordinance that would require medical marijuana dispensaries to pay the county $11,017 a year, the sheriff’s alleged “cost to regulate” the facilities. 

The annual fee, according to county staff, would cover the cost of issuing operational permits, investigating applicants, and for “inspections” after shops have opened, reports Dorian Hargrove of the San Diego Reader.

If approved, the ordinance will also allow the county to collect fingerprints from those looking to open dispensaries. It would also establish more regulations for off-site marijuana deliveries.
The fees and added regulations are more examples of the county supervisors’ tendency to thwart distribution of medicinal cannabis, according to patient advocates.

Photo: SDNN
Eugene Davidovich, ASA: “What they have done is eradicate medical marijuana anywhere in the county”

​”Whether it is $11,000 or $100,000 isn’t important,” said Eugene Davidovich, coordinator for the San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a patient advocacy group. According to Davidovich, the county supervisors already placed a “de facto ban” on dispensaries last year when they outlawed the pot shops in unincorporated areas of San Diego County.
“Although the ordinance does not specifically say the word ‘ban,’ the intent and outcome is such,” Davidovich said Monday. “Not a single place has been able to obtain a permit to open in the county since the ordinance was adopted, mainly due to the fact that there are no properties where one could exist.”
“The purpose of zoning regulations is to ensure that businesses in the county are located in appropriate areas,” Davidovich said. “They should not be used as a tool to go around the will of the voters and enact a ban.”
San Diego County’s political leaders, including the Board of Supervisors, have been notoriously slow in implementing California’s medical marijuana law, approved by voters in 1996 and expanded and clarified by the Assembly in 2003.
The county finally issued its first medical marijuana ID cards in 2003 — a full six years after being instructed to do so by the Legislature.