The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Wednesday unanimously voted to advance a proposed ordinance that would transfer cannabis licensing duties from the sheriff’s department to the planning department.
The board approved a first reading of the ordinance, which if passed will allow Planning and Development Services to handle enforcement, conduct background checks, quarterly and periodic inspections, issue operating certificates and process license renewals and transfers.
According to board Chairman Nathan Fletcher’s office, Wednesday’s action “is another step in the county’s efforts to create a safe, regulated and legal cannabis policy for the unincorporated communities.”
“Shifting to code compliance teams makes San Diego more consistent with the rest of California, and frees up our sheriff deputies to spend their time protecting our community and cracking down on illegal cannabis operations,” Fletcher added.
A second reading for the proposal is set for the board’s Nov. 16 meeting. If supervisors approve it, the ordinance will take effect 30 days afterward.
Five marijuana operations are currently allowed to operate within the county. Three are located in Ramona, while the other two are in unincorporated El Cajon and Escondido. Supervisors have also approved increased law enforcement efforts to crack down on illegal pot operations.
Members of the public weighed in before Wednesday’s vote, with those in favor saying the ordinance made sense in terms of social justice and economics, while opponents said the change would send the wrong message on marijuana use.