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Cannabis Information

Cannabis Updates | June 2022

California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) Updates

As mandated by the passage of The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Cannabis Act (Prop 64) on Nov. 8, 2016, San Diego Municipal Code (SDMC) regulations and ordinances now outline the City’s definition and requirements for cannabis businesses, including Cannabis Outlets, Cannabis Production Facilities and testing facilities. The City of San Diego has adopted local laws authorizing cannabis businesses within the City limits.


Cannabis Equity Program:

The City of San Diego’s Cannabis Equity Program will be designed to lower barriers to cannabis licensing for those hardest hit by the War on Drugs to promote equitable access and ownership opportunities. The Cannabis Equity Program will be developed and implemented in the following phases:

Cannabis Equity Program: Implementation Phases 
Phase 1

Submission of Equity Grant Applications to Fund Assessment, Stakeholder Engagement/Outreach and Program Development. COMPLETE

In 2021, the City received a $75,000 GO-Biz grant from the State of California to conduct a cannabis equity assessment to support and promote equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the legal cannabis industry in communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition or criminalization. The Cannabis Business Division and the City’s Department of Race and Equity are leading the effort to implement the equity assessment.

Phase 2a Data Analysis and Assessment – December 2022 thru March 2022 - COMPLETE
Phase 2b Community and Stakeholder Outreach – May 2022 thru July 2022 - COMPLETE
Phase 3

Development of Cannabis Equity Plan including: 

  1. Goals and Policies, Recommendations and Strategies 
  2. Final Equity Plan completed by September 2022
  3. City Council Review – September 2022
Phase 4

Implementation – Winter 2022

  1. Equity Applicant Education and Training 
  2. Technical Assistance
  3. Potential City and State funding, including grant opportunities
Phase 5

Monitoring and Reporting

  • Annual reports to Council Committee on cannabis equity program progress

Important Public Meeting and Hearing Dates

  • July 12, 2022 | Virtual community meeting to review findings and recommendations on the draft Equity Assessment Report.
  • July 13, 2022 | Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations (EDIR) Council Committee to consider and provide feedback on the draft Equity Assessment Report.
  • Aug. 18, 2022 | Planning Commission to provide feedback on the draft Equity Assessment Report.
  • Sept. 7, 2022 | EDIR Action Item to consider and provide a recommendation for the City Council to adopt the draft Equity Assessment Report.
  • Sept. 20, 2022 | City Council consideration and approval of the draft Equity Assessment Report.

Cannabis Equity Resources


Cannabis Production Facilities:

These facilities include operations involving:

  • Agricultural raising, harvesting and processing of cannabis;
  • Wholesale distribution and storage of cannabis and cannabis products; and/or
  • Production of goods from cannabis and cannabis products is consistent with the California departments of Food and Agriculture, Consumer Affairs and Public Health.

Restrictions

  • Facilities are limited to a maximum of 40 Citywide.
  • Retail sales and testing are prohibited. 
  • Must be located:
    • 1,000 feet from resource- or population-based city parks, churches, childcare centers, playgrounds, libraries, minor-oriented facilities, residential care facilities and schools; and
    • 100 feet from residential zones.
  • There are no separation requirements from other Facilities or Cannabis Outlets.

Permit Process
A PDF icon Conditional Use Permit is required in accordance with a PDF icon Process Three decision by the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer’s decision is appealable to the Planning Commission. For more details, including a summary of the Facility permitting process, and links to helpful information, refer to PDF icon Information Bulletin 171.

Permitted Locations
This map identifies Cannabis Production Facilities' addresses with approved Conditional Use Permit numbers, associated discretionary project numbers, and dates of approval.


Cannabis Outlets:

 

Cannabis Outlets are establishments (retail, medicinal or combination) operating with a Conditional Use Permit where cannabis, cannabis products and cannabis accessories are sold to the public. 

Restrictions

  • Outlets are limited to a maximum of four per Council District, 36 citywide. 
  • Must be located:
    • 1,000 feet from resource- or population-based city parks, other outlets, churches, childcare centers, playgrounds, libraries, minor-oriented facilities, residential care facilities and schools; and
    • 100 feet from residential zones.

Permit Process
A PDF icon Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is required in accordance with a PDF icon Process Three decision by the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer’s decision is appealable to the Planning Commission. For more details, including a summary of the Outlet permitting process, and links to helpful information, refer to PDF icon Information Bulletin 170.

Permitted Locations
This map identifies the addresses of Cannabis Outlets with approved Conditional Use Permit numbers, associated discretionary project numbers, and dates of approval.


 

Cannabis Testing Facilities:

Testing for scientific research (including cannabis testing) that leads to the development of new products and processes is allowed as an Industrial Use. Testing Labs are permitted in limited commercial and industrial zones. Because these types of uses are allowed by right in specified zones and do not require the issuance of a development permit, these applications are not specifically tracked. 


General Restrictions:

  • Deliveries are permitted as an accessory use only from Cannabis Outlets with a valid Conditional Use Permit. 
  • PDF icon Curbside pickups are temporarily allowed for Outlets.
  • Sale and distribution of cannabis and cannabis by-products at special events are prohibited.
  • The outdoor growing of personal residential cannabis is prohibited.
  • No smoking in public places or on business premises is allowed.

Legislative Timeline:

March 25, 2014 - The City adopts PDF icon Ordinance No. O-20356, which implements zoning regulations for MMCCs. 

Nov. 8, 2016 - San Diego voters pass PDF icon Measure N, Non-Medical Cannabis Tax, which imposed a gross receipts tax on non-medical cannabis businesses that operate or provide services within the City. The tax applies to non-medical cannabis business activities, including but not limited to transporting, manufacturing, cultivating, packaging or retail sales. Businesses are initially taxed at a rate of 5 percent of monthly gross receipts and will increase to 8 percent on July 1, 2019. This increase cannot exceed 15 percent of gross receipts. Learn more at the Cannabis Business Tax web page.

Nov. 9, 2016 - PDF icon Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act becomes law and allows for recreational cannabis sales in California by January 2018. 

Feb. 22, 2017 - The City adopts PDF icon Ordinance No. O-20793, which replaces the MMCC use with a new retail sales use category, Cannabis Outlet. It became effective in areas of the City of San Diego outside of the Coastal Overlay Zone on April 12, 2017, and within the Coastal Overlay Zone on Oct. 12, 2017. 

Sept. 11, 2017 - PDF icon Ordinance No. O-20859 is introduced to regulate the cannabis industry relative to commercial cultivation, manufacturing, storage and distribution of medical and recreational cannabis and cannabis products and to allow by-right cannabis testing labs. It became effective on Nov. 17, 2017, in areas of the City of San Diego outside of the Coastal Overlay Zone, and on Feb. 8, 2018, in areas located within the Coastal Overlay Zone. 


Ordinances:


Cannabis Code Updates:


Background Checks and Operating Permit:

  • Cannabis Outlets and Cannabis Production Facilities with approved Conditional Use Permits must comply with SDMC SectionPDF icon Chapter 4, Article 2, Division 15, the regulating CUP, and all applicable City, County, State and Federal Regulations. Applicant Instructions can be found PDF icon here. To initiate this compliance process, please email DSDCannabis@sandiego.gov.


State Resources:

Any other permits or licenses required by law must be obtained from the appropriate agency. For information regarding State of California Cannabis requirements and regulations, running a cannabis business in California, or to search for a licensed business, please refer to the California Department of Cannabis Control.