California voters made recreational marijuana use legal statewide, and now local leaders are grappling with how to regulate the budding industry (sorry, but pot puns basically write themselves).
VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan has been focusing on a set of proposed regulations on medical and recreational marijuana that the San Diego City Council will consider on Tuesday. Her latest is a look at a controversial piece of the proposal that would ban all cultivating, manufacturing and testing of marijuana within San Diego city limits.
Srikrishnan talks to marijuana industry insiders who say a flat-out ban on the supply side of the business would mean missed tax revenue for the city. The ban would also force local dispensaries to get all of their products from outside the region, they said, which would raise costs for dispensaries and their customers and would also be less environmentally friendly.
The Ocean Beach Planning Board opposes the ban — it wants the city to regulate that side of the business instead. The beach neighborhood has some skin in the game since that’s where PharmLabs, a marijuana testing lab, is located.
The city’s own planning commission also recommended the City Council reject the ban.
And Alex Scherer, owner of San Ysidro dispensary Southwest Patient Group, said if the city goes through with the ban, it likely won’t stop people from growing, processing, testing and storing pot in San Diego, it’ll just drive them underground.
“We obviously want the supply chain to be regulated,” Scherer said. “But if they just shut them down, the demand won’t go away. The demand will still exist.”
• Srikrishnan has also looked at the city’s dozens of marijuana delivery services operating in legal gray area and the major changes the City Council proposal would cause for that piece of the industry.
San Diego Protests Trump’s Refugee Ban
Protests erupted at airports across the country over the weekend in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order barring citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations entry into the U.S.
San Diego didn’t sit this one out, and a group of protesters gathered in front of the airport chanting slogans like ““No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here.” (Associated Press)
NBC 7 San Diego counted more than 300 people protesting in front of the San Diego International Airport Saturday night.
A judge’s ruling has blocked part of the president’s actions and helped many of the refugees and others who were trapped at airports because of Trump’s order, but it stopped short of calling the policy unconstitutional so the tension and upheaval continue. (The New York Times)
I’ve gotten emails and seen a few social media posts about another planned protest happening in San Diego Monday at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Federal Building at 880 Front St.
The U-T talked to a handful of immigrants in San Diego who said they are living in anxiety and fear after Trump’s order. James Elia, a U.S.-born citizen of Iraqi descent who lives in El Cajon, called the decision a “death sentence” for those stuck living in war-torn regions.
Talking to the Associated Press, Abdul Manan, an Afghan interpreter who worked for the Army for years before moving to San Diego two months ago, said he fears for family members he had to leave behind after fleeing his country amid death threats.
People in the City Heights community crowded into a Town Hall meeting Sunday to discuss similar anxieties and fears related to the parts of Trump’s travel ban that remain in effect.
• In her weekly column, VOSD’s Sara Libby made a case for why San Diegans have an obligation to help the rest of the world understand the value of refugees and to explain to folks what the border region is really like.
Trump’s Bad for Border Business
Trump’s got businesses in San Diego and Tijuana on edge.
There are the president’s executive orders to build a border wall and punish sanctuary cities (whatever that means), but it’s his promise to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement and possibly make Mexico pay for a new border wall that have binational businesses worried.
The Economist gets reactions to Trump’s tough border stance by talking to leaders in Tijuana, a city that’s home to more than 200,000 jobs in factories where workers assemble products mainly headed for the U.S.
The U-T also touches on Trump’s potential impact on San Diego-Tijuana business relations.
Meet the Man Behind the Soccer Push
Mike Stone is one of the investors behind the proposal unveiled last week to demolish Qualcomm Stadium and replace it with a smaller facility for both Major League Soccer and San Diego State football.
The U-T has more background on the man who could change the San Diego sportscape forever.
• Also in post-Chargers news, the U-T isn’t totally giving up its coverage of the team, but no one’s exactly sure what will end up on the paper’s pages just yet.
• Good thing the U-T plans on keeping up its Chargers coverage, because running back Melvin Gordon is confident his team’s angry San Diego fans will eventually come crawling back. (ESPN)
• Or maybe Chargers fans will be wooed by the Padres. The U-T picks up on a thread we pulled on last week in the VOSD podcast with Padres boss Ron Fowler who said the team’s got its eyes on the city’s former football fans.
• Councilman Scott Sherman is stuck in the denial phase of his breakup with the Chargers. (NBC 7 San Diego)
Opinion: Here’s How to Get More Housing
San Diego’s housing stock is in a sorry state.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer made the housing crisis one of the focuses of his State of the City address, and two members of the San Diego City Council recently stepped up to talk about their new plan for building more places for people to live.
And now two members of the newly formed Housing You Matters coalition have joined the conversation. In a new VOSD op-ed, they’ve proposed a few pro-housing ideas of their own.
Urban Art Matters
It’s hip for local leaders to say they support the underground or grassroots art scene, but it’s harder for them to actually put forth ideas or policies that support local artists.
Justin Navalle, who has his hands in a handful of local arts and culture ventures, writes in a new letter that San Diego should look toward other cities that have done interesting and innovative things to support their urban art scenes.
Weekend News Roundup
• U-T columnist Dan McSwain has a few tasks for the mayor and others interested in making a dent in San Diego’s swelling homeless population.
We talked to Daily Beast reporter Brandy Zadrozny about her deep dive into the startling case on the VOSD podcast last year.
• More San Diego police officers have been hired and stuck around, but the numbers could be better. (U-T)
• Got questions about the protests in Mexico over gas prices? This U-T piece should clear those up.
• Rep. Darrell Issa said he’s got a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. (NBC 7 San Diego)
• The oldest Pearl Harbor survivor salvage diver died in Escondido over the weekend. (Washington Post)
Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified Ken Hartle as the oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor. He is thought to be the oldest surviving Pearl Harbor salvage diver.