Christine Bordenave, general manager of Torrey Holistics, speaks about the marijuana plants for sale.
Christine Bordenave, general manager of Torrey Holistics, speaks about the marijuana plants for sale. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday authorizing city staff to enter an agreement with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to accept a $75,000 grant to advance economic justice for populations and communities disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition.

“We are taking deliberate steps to break systemic inequities and barriers to opportunities in all of our neighborhoods, especially those hit hardest by the War on Drugs,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “The grant will help us address disparities and develop an inclusive and equitable legal cannabis marketplace where everyone has the chance to succeed.”

The state grant provides funding in cities and local governments with legal cannabis markets to evaluate the historical impacts of cannabis criminalization locally, assess potential funding and program opportunities, as well as identify constraints to entry in the current regulatory framework.

The grant ensures policy recommendations will be developed to assure equity and diversity in the emerging cannabis industry by eliminating barriers to entering into the local regulated cannabis industry.

“This grant will provide essential funding to help develop a cannabis equity program specific to San Diego, supporting those most disadvantaged by cannabis criminalization in our city through inclusive business ownership and employment strategies in our regulated cannabis industry,” said PJ FitzGerald, deputy director of the city’s Cannabis Business Division.

With the passage of Prop. 64 in 2016, the city adopted regulations for cannabis businesses, including retail outlets, production and testing facilities. Last year, San Diego also formed a Cannabis Business Division within the Development Services Department. The division is intended to develop and manage the city’s cannabis program by issuing permits and regulating cannabis businesses conforming with city code requirements.

San Diego also recently established the Office of Race and Equity — dedicated to addressing racial justice, equity, and providing fair and just distribution of resources, access and opportunity. Together these programs will partner to conduct San Diego’s cannabis equity assessment over the next year and develop new policy considerations for increasing participation in the legal cannabis marketplace.