OCEANSIDE, Calif. – After much debate, Oceanside City Council on Wednesday gave the green light for licensed local facilities to sell cannabis products to adults.
The 4-1 vote removes the “medical only” restriction on all marijuana-related facilities, paving the way for recreational use outside of cultivation licenses, meaning those 21 and up will be able to purchase cannabis.
Mayor Esther Sanchez was the only dissenting vote. She said she’s concerned there isn’t enough prevention education for youth.
“We’re not doing anything to address youth access,” Sanchez said.
The concern was pointed out by youth with the North Coastal Prevention Coalition, which is concerned adult use could expand access to children.
“I’ve watched my peers in school begin vaping more and more, school bathrooms, hallways, out in public and it’s become a really big problem,” said 17-year-old Madison Matella, who serves as president of the Be the Resistance Club at Oceanside High School.
She and the Northern Coastal Prevention Coalition are concerned storefronts downtown Oceanside could be next up for consideration.
A city staff report shows that allowing businesses to get into the adult-use market will boost future cannabis tax revenues to the city. It is not yet known how much the increase would be as “there are only three cannabis-related business currently in operation,” according to the report.
Facilities with an existing Regulated Use Permit can submit a Substantial Conformity application if they want to add adult-use sales to their operations, the report said.
“The Substantial Conformity application will be required in order to maintain proper records of the uses allowed on the site, to modify the Regulated Use Permit, and review any impacts associated with addition of adult-use,” the staff report reads.
Proponents of recreational use say it’s safer for marijuana users because it keeps them from buying off the black market.
Med Leaf, the city’s first cannabis delivery service, says it often gets calls from tourists looking for cannabis that it must turn away.
“Oftentimes, those phone calls end with, ‘OK, I’ll find out a solution. I’ll look in the back of the Reader,’ which does have a number of illegal operators,” said Gracie Morgan, director of operations at Med Leaf.