Marijuana Regulations Creating Buzz In North County Supervisors Race
February 14, 2018 9:37 a.m.
This year, the cannabis industry can legally throw money into politics in California, and candidates can legally accept it. One race where marijuana money may flow is the race to replace San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn.
This is midday edition. I am Maureen Cavanaugh. This year the cannabis industry can legally throw money into politics in California, and candidates can legally accept it. KPBS Allison St. John says one race where marijuana money is focused is the race to replace San Diego County supervisor horn. -- Bill Horn.
>>Reporter: it is an outline warehouse just east of El Cajon city boundaries in unincorporated San Diego County. It is one of five legally licensed -- medicinal marijuana operations in the region. Lincoln fish says, we cultivate, we extract or manufacture products, we dispense and we can also do distribution elsewhere.
>>Reporter: but fish says outliers has a problem. San Diego's County supervisors approved zoning to allow a handful of legalized cannabis operations in 2010, but then rescinded that decision last year.
>> He said we are going to allow for the operations that are currently in place to be grandfathered in for a 4 to 5 year. -- Period.
>>Reporter: companies like this have a lot at stake depending on who gets elected to the County Board of Supervisors this year.
>> We need votes.
>> With an uncertain future, they are looking at open seats on the county board which controls land-use in the unincorporated areas. Bill Horn who voted to ban cannabis operations will be turned out. Running to replace him is San Marcus Mayor Jim Desmond. He also voted last year for complete ban in his city.
>> The citizens came forward and said we don't want any dispensaries. Quite frankly, you can grow six plants in your house. Every household in six plans.
>>Reporter: he says he might be open to some commercial cultivation but not other aspects like dispensaries.
>> It is still illegal as far as the government is concerned. If and when marijuana becomes acknowledged as a medical use by the federal government, the growing it is possible for the pharmacies. Dispensaries have not worked very well in the cities. They are a public nuisance.
>>Reporter: standing at a fountain is Jerry Kern, also Republican, and is running against Desmond for Horn's seat on the county board.
>> I think San Marcos is wrong. I think the county is wrong.
>> He suggested setting up an ad hoc committee in Oceanside.
>> If you want to talk the bright line between Mayor Desmond and myself, that is the issue. I voted against medical and recreational. My job as an elected public officials to follow the vote of the people. It got 57% of the vote in the state and 57% in the city of Oceanside. He got 55% in San Marcos.
>> The committee has been working on an ordinance to allow commercial cultivation, testing, and sale of medicinal marijuana in Oceanside. One of the city Council members who is not in favor of this ordinance is Democrat Esther Sanchez, the third candidate running for Bill Horn's seat.
>> I cannot support it because I do believe that we need to address impacts to our economy, public safety, and youth.
>>Reporter: she is opposed to lifting ban on all marijuana operations except deliveries in her city. Democrats have typically been the ones to support regulating cannabis, but not in this case, says the fish of the outliers collective. He wants to make sure his company has a future and he says he will financially support the political candidates who are open to regulating commercial cannabis operations.
>> He has shown that a reefer madness Board of Supervisors.
>>Reporter: fish is not looking to put a dollar figure on political campaigns.
>> It would not surprise me if by the time it is all said and done it runs in the six figures.
>>Reporter: horns supervisors district has only one of the seats were marijuana industry money may make a difference. Allison St. John, KPBS news.