The cannabis landscape in the U.S. continues its onward expansion. A natural evolution of the industry is taking place as more local municipalities are adopting cannabis-friendly ordinances to allow for the development of cannabis grow facilities, manufacturing operations, retail dispensaries and delivery services to provide safe, tested, quality cannabis products in a well-regulated marketplace.
Southern California, specifically San Diego County, has witnessed this evolution firsthand in 2021 as cities like Chula Vista, La Mesa, Imperial Beach and National City have all finally approved licensed dispensaries after much consideration. Chula Vista, San Diego’s largest suburb, had a long prior history of illicit dispensaries operating through the years. The city welcomed its first legal dispensary just last month with numerous other dispensaries set to open in the coming months.
National City made recent headlines for its decision to allow cannabis consumption lounges, a first for San Diego County, making it one of only three cities in California to allow such facilities to operate. The city is planning for the future by specifically allowing three licensed dispensaries and three consumption lounges to operate in a designated tourism district. The district will consist of all new construction with close proximity to San Diego Bay.
After a relatively slow start considering that California voters overwhelmingly approved recreational cannabis in 2016, cities large and small are taking a proactive approach to cannabis and that is cause for great optimism. Communities will benefit from the much-needed tax revenue as towns and cities recover from the pandemic. The state will benefit from more innovation and a healthy business climate. The cannabis industry will see even more financial investment as stakeholders seek to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. And consumers will benefit from better pricing and additional choices in terms of legal dispensaries and safe products to purchase. It truly is an exciting time for everyone involved in the cannabis space.