SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- It's been more than a year since the first legal cannabis transaction took place in the City of San Diego. Marijuana industry professionals gave members of the City Council an update on revenue, but also pushed for updated laws.
The City if San Diego found out that going green generated green. Since San Diego voters approved of Measure N or the Cannabis Business Tax in 2016, the City’s general fund has increased by $6.3 million. It's the culmination of a 5% tax from the 14 legal pot shops within the city in 2018.
Dallin Young with the Association of Cannabis professionals also updated Council members that crime numbers around marijuana establishments are close to none.
However, Young also expressed the industry's hopes for updated city rules. He said the permits are a massive hurdle for pot shop operators. As it stands now, both public retailers and harvesting facilities are only permitted in areas one thousand feet from parks, schools, and churches, 100 feet away from residential areas, and they must be in industrial zones.
“Those properties are a little more expensive, they’re off the beaten path, and there are not many available," Young said.
Because of these strict rules, Young said future operators struggle to open. More people are applying for permits than what the city has made available. He said the supply and demand for marijuana facilities in the city of San Diego do not align.
“We’re just asking for this business and industry to be treated like any other business when it comes to commercial sales," Young said.
The industry is also asking the city to consider a place for customers to use their products. Now, people can only smoke pot products if they own their home, or if their lease allows for pot smoking. That is why Young is suggesting the city to approve the opening of a pot version of a hookah bar.
“[We are asking for] Consumption at these retail locations or a separate use like a cigar bar or more like a tasting room for a brewery,” Young said.
Lastly, Young is hoping the city extends the operating hours for pot shops to match the State's. Currently, the city only allows pot shops to operate between 7 am and 9 pm. The State of California allows for sales between 6 am and 9 pm.
“We want to make sure that this industry is thriving and it does well. So if it’s one extra hour, that’d be great," Young said.
Young understands that changing rules for a new industry is not easy. But he is hopeful with small changes, it will shift the industry away from illegal sales.
"I think a lot of people would rather go to a licensed facility than to someone down the street," Young said.