Cannabis cafes could be on the horizon for San Diego

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Initially, it was only San Francisco that had integrated Amsterdam-inspired cannabis cafes citywide. Now, the cannabis cafe craze is catching on, with San Diego rumored to be following closely behind.

Official lawmakers in the city are contemplating introducing establishments inside which customers could buy and consume legal cannabis products.

When we have a cool place like this where people can gather and participate in the legal market, that’s ultimately going to take people away from the illicit market and bring revenue back to the city,” said board member for the Association for Cannabis Professionals, Dallin Young, at a recent San Diego Economic Development Committee.

California’s cannabis tax revenue is lagging

The amount of cannabis tax revenue accrued by the State of California is not as much as analysts first predicted. The fourth quarter of 2018 raked in $103.3 million in cannabis tax revenues, non-inclusive of city or county taxes. 

This could all change if more regions welcome on-site smoking establishments where consumers can enjoy their weed in a social setting. Establishments of this kind could bolster cannabis tourism and overall tax revenue.

Cannabis cafes would also rectify the issue of where people can legally consume cannabis under California’s legal weed system. Currently, it’s illegal to consume the plant in public settings, with the vast majority of resorts and hotels not allowing cannabis consumption. However, residents in San Diego are supportive of the idea.

San Diego residents want cannabis cafes

In fact, residents say that cannabis cafes could have a positive impact on society, not only by preventing younger individuals from consuming weed publicly but also, by creating new job opportunities.

On the other hand, certain council members have aired their concerns regarding the possibility of cannabis cafes acting as a catalyst for drug-impaired driving.

A representative of San Diegans United for Safe Neighborhoods who goes by the name of Scott Chipman believes that “economic benefit would be outweighed by the cost.” Additionally, he is adamant that legal weed is already resulting in “spending way more on pot enforcement, impaired driving, medical bills and other things than the economic revenue and taxes coming in.”

A good way to increase tax revenue for the state would be to permit social consumption spaces, but whether or not San Diego and other urban areas in California legalize cannabis cafes is yet to be determined by the city council. Until a decision is made, research will be carried out and assessed as a means of figuring out the efficacy of public cannabis-consuming establishments.