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An office complex in Mission Valley, where The Healing Center San Diego, or THCSD, marijuana dispensary operates. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Youth and anti-drug activists have been warning for years about the negative and unintended consequences of bringing marijuana businesses into communities.

But well into the first year of legalization, those prophecies of violence and chaos have not come to fruition.

Jesse Marx analyzed emergency calls between January and June 2018 and found that police responded to one of the city’s 13 licensed dispensaries about once a month on average. Some of those calls involved attempted burglaries and thefts. There was an arrest for assault.

Often, though, those calls were low-priority and involved mundane stuff, like false security alarms and mentally ill people rambling into a public payphone. Two dispensaries were each responsible for a single call during roughly the first six months of the year.

Even then, it’s not clear whether those dispensaries or others were the reason for the call. Several shops are located in busy shopping malls, where they get a lot of traffic.

Industry players say the lack of crime has allowed them to hit restart on their relationship with law enforcement. The United Medical Marijuana Coalition, a trade group, and the police department have been putting faces to names and keeping the lines of communications open.

The attempt to improve relations has also been enabled by a change in official leadership. Last year, former Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman lobbied against the expansion of the marijuana industry into cultivation, manufacturing and distribution facilities. She retired in February.

The Future of the Homeless Tents

As city leaders wrestle with the future of three homeless tents, they’re also confronting the struggles of those tents to move clients into permanent housing. Just 12 percent have moved into permanent housing in their first months far shy of the contractual goal of at least 65 percent.

But as Voice’s Lisa Halverstadt writes, that failure shouldn’t have been a revelation.

Some nonprofit and city leaders questioned the contract goals months ago, and the city’s experience with other shelters revealed the challenges even brick-and-mortar ones can have quickly connecting their clients with permanent housing. The City Council is poised to vote Sept. 18 on updated contracts, likely with lower targets for the nonprofits running them.

Over on the podcast, Andrew Keatts, Sara Libby and Scott Lewis discuss the uncertain future of the tents, plus the latest on an effort to overturn restrictive new vacation rental rules.

Politics Roundup

  • Last week was the deadline in Sacramento to pass bills for the year, and several of the big decisions came from San Diegans.
  • Among the many bills passed before the midnight deadline is one that will require utilities like SDG&E to harden their equipment so it’s less likely to cause fires. (Associated Press)
  • Environmental and community groups have a plan if the county ends up greenlighting the Newland Sierra development: a referendum is already in the works.
  • Two members of the San Diego County Taxpayer Association board of directors resigned last week. One accused the financial watchdog of being run by lobbyists who pushed the positions of their clients and failed to lead on important issues. “Some folks didn’t get their way so they’re trying to cause a stink,” said the group’s president.
  • Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox, the Republican candidate for governor, was accused in the 1990s of financial misconduct while advising a wealthy Chicago family. He settled a lawsuit for $1.7 million and denied wrongdoing. (Los Angeles Times)

In Other News

  • Baby boomers have a lower jobless rate than other workers, but they remain out of work longer and earn less. Surveys suggest age discrimination is a cause of the inequity. (Union-Tribune)
  • A taxpayer group whose sole source of funding came from the law firm of activist attorney Cory Briggs dropped a suit against the San Diego County Office of Education alleging top officials had given themselves illegal raises. (Union-Tribune)
  • A judge rejected the city of San Diego’s request to seal body camera video that has been public for years. (Union-Tribune)
  • A man shot by Sheriff’s deputies at the Del Mar racetrack is expected to survive. (City News Service)

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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