The New Year ushered in throngs of customers to pre-established dispensaries throughout San Diego County. One, in particular, Torrey Holistics, is the only licensed location to operate within District 1.
On Friday, Dec. 15, Torrey Holistics became the first approved “adult use” marijuana dispensary in the state of California. They are now legally permitted to sell marijuana to adults 21 years of age and over without the medical recommendation of a physician, as was previously required in California.
Although Torrey Holistics has been operational since 2015, providing marijuana to patients with a medical recommendation, they have since transitioned to purvey both recreational and medical cannabis products (in separated groups). Unsurprisingly, on New Year’s Day, a queue of customers stretched down the block.
“There were still people when I left the store earlier, so here we are, in the second week, and are still seeing large numbers of customers,” said Ruthie Edelson, marketing director of Torrey Holistics. “I definitely think our customer contingency will continue to grow. Everyone has seemed happy with everything thus far. Perhaps the only negative response I have heard is in regard to taxes.”
What Edelson is referring to is the $3.88 plus 7.75 percent local sales tax added to flat-rate product costs. Projections show that in 2018, a 15 percent excise tax and $1.15 state cultivation tax will also be added. Disregarding taxes, clients at Torrey Holistics seemed to be in good spirits.
“Our buyer was extremely prepared, so we did not run out of any product on ‘opening day,’” added Edelson.
The ruling to allow recreational marijuana testing labs, large-scale cultivation, production and distribution within San Diego County passed 6-3 in a Sep. 11, 2016 vote.
Councilmembers Chris Cate, Lorie Zapf, and Scott Sherman voted against the option.
While Zapf and Bry have typically co-authored legislative work in the past, Bry, who represents District 1, ultimately voted in favor of the option, saying:
“By allowing for local government oversight of the cannabis industry, we can benefit from new jobs and a new source of much-needed tax revenue for the general fund.
“San Diego voters overwhelmingly turned out to pass Proposition 64 and it is our responsibility to put reasonable regulations in place that protect public safety and enhance our local economy. If we don’t allow all parts of the supply chain in San Diego, we are merely enabling a large black market and San Diego consumers are counting on us to provide them with a safe product.”
Not everyone is on board with the recent decision, most notably U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Sessions is quoted as saying, “No good people smoke pot,” and has vowed to utilize federal resources to “harass and otherwise circumvent the will of the people in California.”
It is also no secret that District 2 representative, Lorie Zapf, has expressed her opinion that moving forward with that recreational pot would be disastrous for teenagers in her district (or any).
At the public meeting of City Council, in open comment session on Sep. 11 and 12, 2017, Zapf cited a Daily Mail article,“Proof Cannabis Does Lead Teens to Harder Drugs,” after scolding District 3 Councilmember Chris Ward for “reading headlines” in support of moving forward with the options presented before them.
Despite those in opposition, a majority vote allowed this to happen in the county, so it will be interesting to see where things expand from this point forward.