SAN DIEGO —
San Diego is planning key changes this fall to how the city regulates cannabis, including a new effort to help minorities break into the lucrative business and the first increase since 2014 in the number of dispensaries allowed within the city.
City officials say it’s time for San Diego to catch up with nearly all of California’s other large cities by establishing a state-subsidized cannabis equity program, which could give minorities preference for a city cannabis permit or help them expunge old drug convictions.
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Officials also plan to ask the City Council to make municipal code changes that would increase the maximum number of dispensaries allowed in the city from 36 to 38.
The proposed changes are in response to last winter’s re-drawing of City Council district boundaries, which pushed the number of dispensaries in north coastal District 1 and central urban District 3 above the maximum of four per district.
Efforts to create a cannabis equity program, which the city launched in 2019 but did not pursue aggressively, are kicking into high gear this spring with a consultant’s analysis and a series