Supervisors approve grant for cannabis social equity

In the event the state’s Office of Business and Economic Develop­ment approves the County of San Diego’s application for a Cannabis Equity Act grant the county’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice is now authorized to accept it.

A 4-1 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote May 5, with Jim Desmond opposed, authorized the OERJ director or designee to conduct all negotiations, submit all necessary documents, and execute grant agreements for the proposed $75,000 grant. The county will use the grant funding to help pay for a study to review and analyze local historical rates of arrests and con­victions for cannabis law violations, identify the impacts that the ban on cannabis has had on local communi­ties, and determine how the popula­tion has negatively been impacted by the “War on Drugs”.

A 4-1 Board of Supervisors vote January 27, with Desmond opposed, directed the development of a more lenient ordinance for the zoning of marijuana cultivation and sales in unincorporated San Diego County. The supervisors’ action also called for creation of a “social equity” pro­gram which gives individuals with past cannabis arrests and those in “disproportionately impacted ar­eas” greater opportunities to secure an operating permit and directed county staff to seek grant funding to implement the social equity pro­gram. A March 3 Board of Supervi­sors action directed OERJ to lead the development of the framework and strategy needed to implement a social equity program for the new ordinance, including grant funding options, and to coordinate the so­cial equity program with the land use permitting system which will be developed by the county’s Depart­ment of Planning and Development Services.

The November 2016 election in­cluded the passage of Proposition 64 which legalized recreational marijuana in California. That mea­sure calls for regulating cannabis in a way which reduces barriers to entry into the legal and regulated market. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control and the Office of Business and Economic Develop­ment entered into an interagency agreement to administer the Canna­bis Equity Grants Program for local jurisdictions.

“I’m glad we will be able to re­ceive these resources,” said Board of Supervisors chair Nathan Fletch­er.

The county will also use the grant funding, along with other sources of revenue for the cost of the study, to conduct community outreach, as­sess best practices, and work with local stakeholders. The costs not covered by the grant are currently unknown, although the January 27 action included appropriating $485,000 to cover county staff time and consultant services to develop the ordinance and up to $215,000 of Land Use and Environment ex­ecutive office funds are available to develop the social equity program.

Supervisors approve grant for cannabis social equity

1 COMMENT

  1. What is this about? What is social equity? Home much money is being spent on this and whose money? What is being done to show the benefits of the war on drugs, given they kill many more people than Covid?

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