Looking forward, the recent midterm elections in San Diego could spell more local victories for cannabis reform in 2020. Local campaign announcements will start trickling in come Jan. 1, 2019, so there is no better time to get involved in local cannabis advocacy than now. Despite what may or may not happen with federal law over the next year, if we have cannabis-supporting elected-officials in place, San Diego just might step out into the marketplace as a leader in the cannabis industry.
The big race in 2020 in San Diego will be for mayor. Assemblymember Todd Gloria is a well-known San Diego democrat and former city councilmember who is running for San Diego mayor in 2020. Gloria is informed about cannabis bills in California, and he has already addressed cannabis banking issues, promising to help implement safe solutions for legal dispensaries. He also suggested that too many rules encourage the black market.
Councilmember Barbara Bry, District 1 representative on the San Diego City Council in California, is also likely to run for mayor. In 2008, Bry founded Run Women Run, a non-partisan organization that empowers women to run for political office. While she hasn’t announced a run, she has gone on the record stating that others are encouraging her to run.
Other races that affect cannabis are those for the San Diego City Council, the County Board of Supervisors and the Assembly. The blue wave may continue in city council elections, with Stephen Whitburn planning to run in District 3 and Will Moore is a name being tossed around as a potential candidate in District 1. Kevin Beiser, San Diego’s recently re-elected San Diego Unified School Board Trustee, is a potential candidate in District 7. Since having already been on the District 7 ballot half a dozen times and winning thrice, democrats may run Beiser for city council to flip a seat from red to blue.
“States like Oregon and Colorado have implemented some very effective rules and regulations to support a legal industry with regulation that doesn’t subvert the will of the voters but that helps to foster the industry which creates jobs in provides stimulus to our local San Diego economy.”
Beiser shared with CULTURE the potential legal cannabis has to benefit San Diego as a community. “In the school district we’ve improved our performance dramatically by sharing best practices and learning what other effective school districts and schools are doing,” Beiser said. “We must apply the same strategy when looking at other issues that we face. States like Oregon and Colorado have implemented some very effective rules and regulations to support a legal industry with regulation that doesn’t subvert the will of the voters but that helps to foster the industry, which creates jobs in provides stimulus to our local San Diego economy. It can provide money for classrooms and not for drug cartels.”
If Marti Emerald runs for County Board of Supervisors, she has said that the money earned by cannabis for the city would be targeted for specific programs for youth and mental health. Emerald may be running against Nora Vargas, who is currently on the Southwestern Community College Board and serving as VP of Community & Government Relations for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.
Chris Ward is a well-known pro-legalization voice in San Diego. If he runs for State Assembly, he will be mindful about the economic impact cannabis can have for America’s Finest City. Currently, Councilmember Ward has emerged as one of the most pro-legalization voices on the council, advocating for local, regulated supply chains to help mitigate public safety concerns.
If prepared, citizens and elected officials can be poised to make 2020 an unforgettable year for cannabis in San Diego. Make your voice heard, get involved, volunteer or contribute. By getting involved and taking action now, we can ensure quality cannabis reform and unify San Diego’s efforts like never before.