City of San Diego
Regulations for Marijuana Related Commercial Activity
San Diego (/ˌsæn diːˈeɪɡoʊ/, Spanish for “Saint Didacus”; Spanish: [san ˈdje.ɣo]) is a major city in California, United States. It is in San Diego County, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, approximately 120 miles (190 km) south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico.
With an estimated population of 1,406,630 as of July 1, 2016, San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest in California. It is part of the San Diego–Tijuana conurbation, the second-largest transborder agglomeration between the US and a bordering country after Detroit–Windsor, with a population of 4,922,723 people. San Diego has been called “the birthplace of California”. It is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, extensive beaches, long association with the United States Navy, and recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development center.
Historically home to the Kumeyaay people, San Diego was the first site visited by Europeans on what is now the West Coast of the United States. Upon landing in San Diego Bay in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area for Spain, forming the basis for the settlement of Alta California 200 years later. The Presidio and Mission San Diego de Alcalá, founded in 1769, formed the first European settlement in what is now California. In 1821, San Diego became part of the newly independent Mexico, which reformed as the First Mexican Republic two years later. In 1850, California became part of the United States following the Mexican–American War and the admission of California to the union.
The city is the seat of San Diego County and is the economic center of the region as well as the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. San Diego’s main economic engines are military and defense-related activities, tourism, international trade, and manufacturing. The presence of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), with the affiliated UCSD Medical Center, has helped make the area a center of research in biotechnology.
San Diego proper has approved regulation for retail cannabis dispensaries and currently prohibits cultivation and manufacturing.
§42.1501 Purpose and Intent
It is the intent of this Division to promote and protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of San Diego by allowing but strictly regulating the retail sale of marijuana at marijuana outlets in accordance with state law. It is further the intent of this Division to ensure that marijuana is not diverted for illegal purposes, and to limit its use to those persons authorized under state law. Nothing in this Division is intended to authorize the sale, distribution, possession of marijuana, or other transaction, in violation of state law.
It is not the intent of this Division to supersede or conflict with state law, but to implement the Compassionate Use Act (California Health and Safety Code section 11362.5), the Medical Marijuana Program Act (California Health and Safety Code sections 11362.7-11362.83), the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
(Added 4-27-2011 by O-20043 N.S.; effective 5-27-2011.)
(Amended 2-22-2017 by O-20795 N.S.; effective 4-12-2017.)
§34.0104 Business Tax Certificate Required
(a) It is unlawful for any Operator to engage in any Cannabis Business in the City without first having obtained a business tax certificate from the City. Any person who fails to obtain the business tax certificate required by this Article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Operators exclusively engaged in Cannabis Business taxed under this Article shall be exempt from the provisions of Chapter 3, Article 1 of this Code.
(b) The issuance of a business tax certificate shall not entitle any person to engage in any Cannabis Business without first complying with the requirements of this Code and all other applicable laws.
(c) It is unlawful to use or refer to a business tax certificate issued under this Article in any advertisement, or to present or represent such certificate as a license or permit required by other provisions of this Code or the laws of the State of California or the County of San Diego.
(d) Any person claiming the activities of such person are not subject to the tax imposed by this Article shall, upon the request of the Tax Administrator, furnish appropriate evidence, to the satisfaction of the Tax Administrator, that such person is not subject to the tax.
(“Business Tax Certificate Required” added 8-3-2016 by O-20712 N.S.; effective 12-12-2016.)
§34.0105 Application – Form and Contents
(a) Every person required to have a business tax certificate under the provisions of this Article shall make application for the same, or for renewal of the same, to the Tax Administrator. The application shall be a written statement upon a form or forms provided by the Tax Administrator and shall be signed by the applicant under penalty of perjury. The application shall set forth such information as may be required and as may be reasonably necessary to enable the Tax Administrator to administer the provisions of this Article, including a representation by the applicant that any state or local licenses or permits required to engage in a Cannabis Business have been obtained. Failure to provide information required by the Tax Administrator shall authorize the Tax Administrator to not issue a business tax certificate to the applicant.
(b) The information or data obtained from an examination or audit, or from any statement required hereunder, shall be used for official City purposes only, and shall not be provided to any person for any other purpose except as provided in this section, or as otherwise required by law.
(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the Tax Administrator from furnishing to any citizen upon request the name under which the business is conducted, the address and type of business and the name of the owner of the business, including the names of partners, if a partnership, and the names of officers, if a corporation.
(d) Any person who willfully makes, provides, or signs any false or untrue statement which is filed or furnished pursuant to this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(“Application – Form and Contents” added 8-3-2016 by O-20712 N.S.; effective 12-12-2016.)
Business tax certificates issued under this Article are nontransferable.
(“Transferability” added 8-3-2016 by O-20712 N.S.; effective 12-12-2016.)
§34.0107 Branch Establishments
Separate business tax certificates must be obtained for each branch establishment or business location.
(“Branch Establishments” added 8-3-2016 by O-20712 N.S.; effective 12-12-2016.)
§34.0108 Posting and Keeping Certificates
Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Article, business tax certificates must be kept and posted in the following manner:
(a) Any person engaging in Cannabis Business at a fixed location shall keep the certificate posted in a conspicuous place upon the premises where such Cannabis Business is conducted.
(b) Any person engaging in Cannabis Business in the City of San Diego, but not operating from a location, shall keep a copy of the business tax certificate or original business tax certificate upon his or her person at all times while engaging in the business.
(c) Any person engaging in Cannabis Business taxed under this Article shall exhibit a valid business tax certificate upon request of the Tax Administrator or any peace officer.
(“Posting and Keeping Certificates” added 8-3-2016 by O-20712 N.S.; effective 12-12-2016.)
§34.0109 Other Licenses, Permits, Taxes, Fees or Charges
(a) Nothing contained in this Article shall be deemed to repeal, amend, be in lieu of, replace or in any way affect any requirements for any license or permit required by, under or by virtue of any provision of any other chapter or article of this Code or any other ordinance or resolution of the City, nor be deemed to repeal, amend, be in lieu of, replace or in any way affect any tax, fee or other charge imposed, assessed or required by, under or by virtue of any other chapter or article of this Code or any other ordinance or resolution of the City.
(b) Persons may not lawfully engage in Cannabis Business to be taxed by this Article without first obtaining any permit, certificate, license or other evidence of permission to engage in Cannabis Business required by the City and any license required to engage in Cannabis Business by the State of California.
(“Other Licenses, Permits, Taxes, Fees or Charges” added 8-3-2016 by O-20712 N.S.; effective 12-12-2016.)
§34.0110 Payment of Tax Does Not Authorize Unlawful Business
(a) The payment of a Cannabis Business Tax required by this Article, and its acceptance by the City, shall not entitle any person to carry on any Cannabis Business unless the person has complied with all of the requirements of this code and all other applicable laws.
(b) No Cannabis Business Tax paid under the provisions of this Article shall be construed as authorizing the conduct or continuance of any illegal or unlawful business, or any business in violation of any ordinance of the City.
(“Payment of Tax Does Not Authorize Unlawful Business” added 8-3-2016 by O-20712 N.S.; effective 12-12-2016.)
§34.0111 Payment – Location
The tax imposed under this Article shall be paid to the City Treasurer in the lawful currency of the United States, at the Offices of the City Treasurer in San Diego, California, or at another location as permitted or required by the City Treasurer. Lawful currency shall mean any coin, currency or negotiable instrument, exchangeable for said coin or currency, which the United States Congress has declared to be a national legal tender.
(“Payment – Location” added 8-3-2016 by O-20712 N.S.; effective 12-12-2016.)
§34.0112 Amount of Business Tax Owed
(a) Every Operator engaged in Cannabis Business in the City shall pay a Cannabis Business Tax at a rate of up to 15 percent of Gross Receipts. Commencing on December 12, 2016, the Cannabis Business Tax rate shall be five percent of Gross Receipts.
(b) Notwithstanding the maximum tax rate of 15 percent of Gross Receipts imposed under subsection 34.0112(a), the City Council may, in its discretion, at any time by ordinance, implement a lower tax rate for all Cannabis Businesses or establish differing tax rates for different categories of Cannabis Businesses, as defined in such ordinance, subject to the maximum rate of 15 percent of Gross Receipts. The City Council may, by ordinance, also increase any such tax rate from time to time, not to exceed the maximum tax rate of 15 percent of Gross Receipts established under subsection 34.0112(a).
(c) Commencing on July 1, 2019, the Cannabis Business Tax rate shall be set at eight percent of Gross Receipts unless the City Council, by ordinance, takes action to set a different tax rate, not to exceed 15 percent of Gross Receipts.
(“Amount of Business Tax Owed” added 8-3-2016 by O-20712 N.S.; effective 12-12-2016.)
§34.0128 Violations and Criminal Proceedings
(a) Any Operator who willfully: 1) fails to file or cause to be filed any return required by this Article; 2) files or causes to be filed a false return; 3) fails or refuses to remit or cause to be remitted any tax required to be paid; or 4) refuses to allow an audit to be conducted, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) The commencement of criminal proceedings shall neither preclude nor
abate administrative or civil actions to collect taxes due under this Article.
(c) Violations under this section are continuing violations and each day the violation continues constitutes a separate misdemeanor.
(d) Any Operator violating any of the other mandatory provisions of this Article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(e) Notwithstanding section 12.0102 of this Code, violation under this Article shall be punishable as misdemeanors by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment in the County jail for a period of not more than six months or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(“Violations and Criminal Proceedings” added 8-3-2016 by O-20712 N.S.; effective 12-12-2016.)
§42.1304 Marijuana Cultivation
(a) Personal indoor marijuana cultivation is subject to the following regulations:
(1) Indoor marijuana cultivation for personal use, in a manner and amount consistent with state law, may occur in an area of no more than 64 square feet.
(2) For purposes of this section, indoor marijuana cultivation includes cultivation in a fully enclosed and secure accessory structure to a private residence located upon the grounds of a private residence, consistent with state law.
(b) No person shall plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, or process marijuana plants outdoors in anything other than a secured structure upon the grounds of a private residence.
(“Marijuana Cultivation” added 2-22-2017 by O-20794 N.S.; effective 3-24-2017.
Former Section 42.1304 “Smoking” amended, retitled, and renumbered to Section
§42.1304 Marijuana Cultivation
(3) The use of gas products or volatile solvents, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, or any other flammable or non-flammable gas, for marijuana cultivation or marijuana processing is prohibited.
§141.0504 Marijuana Outlets
Marijuana outlets that are consistent with the requirements for retailer or dispensary license requirements in the California Business and Professions Code may be permitted with a Conditional Use Permit decided in accordance with Process Three in the zones indicated with a “C” in the Use Regulations Tables in Chapter 13, Article 1 (Base Zones), provided that no more than four marijuana outlets are permitted in each City Council District. Marijuana outlets are subject to the following regulations.
(a) Marijuana outlets shall maintain the following minimum separation between uses, as measured between property lines, in accordance with Section 113.0225:
(1) 1,000 feet from resource and population-based city parks, other marijuana outlets, churches, child care centers, playgrounds, libraries owned and operated by the City of San Diego, minor-oriented facilities, residential care facilities, and schools. For purposes of this section, school means any public or private institution of learning providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, but does not include any private school in which education is primarily conducted in private homes.
(2) 100 feet from a residential zone.
(b) Lighting shall be provided to illuminate the interior, façade, and the immediate surrounding area of the marijuana outlet, including any accessory uses, parking lots, and adjoining sidewalks. Lighting shall be hooded or oriented to deflect light away from adjacent properties.
(c) Security shall be provided at the marijuana outlet which shall include operable cameras, alarms, and a security guard. The security guard shall be licensed by the State of California and be present on the premises during business hours. The security guard shall only be engaged in activities related to providing security for the facility, except on an incidental basis.
(d) Primary signs shall be posted on the outside of the marijuana outlet and shall only contain the name of the business, which shall contain only alphabetic characters, and shall be limited to two colors.
(e) The name and emergency contact phone number of an operator or manager shall be posted in a location visible from outside the marijuana outlet in character size at least two inches in height.
(f) The marijuana outlet shall operate only between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., seven days a week.
(g) The use of vending machines which allow access to marijuana and marijuana products except by a responsible person, as defined in San Diego Municipal Code Section 42.1502, is prohibited. For purposes of this Section, a vending machine is any device which allows access to marijuana and marijuana products without a human intermediary.
(h) A permit shall be obtained as required pursuant to Chapter 4, Article 2, Division 15.
(i) A Conditional Use Permit for a marijuana outlet shall expire no later than five years from the date of issuance.
(j) Deliveries shall be permitted as an accessory use only from marijuana outlets with a valid Conditional Use Permit unless otherwise allowed pursuant to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
(k) The marijuana outlet, adjacent public sidewalks, and areas under the control of the marijuana outlet, shall be maintained free of litter and graffiti at all times.
(l) The marijuana outlet shall provide daily removal of trash, litter, and debris. Graffiti shall be removed from the premises within 24 hours.
(m) Consultations by medical professionals shall not be a permitted accessory use at a marijuana outlet.
(n) An extension of time for a Conditional Use Permit granted to a marijuana outlet shall comply with the requirements of Section 126.0111, with the following exceptions:
(1) The extension shall be for no more than five years.
(2) A decision on an application for an extension of time shall be made in accordance with Process Two. Appeals of a decision to approve an extension of time shall be made to the Planning Commission.
(3) The separation requirements in Section 141.0504(a) shall not be considered in making the findings required in Section 126.0111(g) when a specified use in Section 141.0504(a) has located within the required distance after the approval date of the initial Conditional Use Permit.
(4) A change in zoning after the approval date of the initial Conditional Use Permit shall not be considered in making the findings required in Section 126.0111(g).
(“Marijuana Outlets” added 2-22-2017 by O-20793 N.S.; effective 4-12-2017.)
§42.1504 Outlets–Permit Required
(a) It is unlawful for any person to operate any marijuana outlet without a Marijuana Outlet Permit issued pursuant to this Division.
(b) The marijuana outlet shall designate one of its officers or managers to act as its responsible managing officer. The responsible managing officer may complete and sign the permit application on behalf of the marijuana outlet.
(c) The issuance of a Marijuana Outlet Permit pursuant to this Division does not relieve any person from obtaining any other permit, license, certificate, or other similar approval that may be required by the City, the County of San Diego, or state or federal law.
(d) A permit applicant must obtain a Conditional Use Permit as required by section 141.0504 prior to obtaining a permit under this Division.
(e) Applications for Marijuana Outlet Permits shall be filed with the City Manager.
(f) The City Manager shall act upon the application within thirty calendar days, except that notice of an incomplete application shall be given within five business days.
(g) Marijuana Outlet Permits issued pursuant to this Division shall be valid for one year.
(h) An application for a Marijuana Outlet Permit shall be denied if the applicant has had any permit issued pursuant to this Division revoked by the City Manager within the past twelve months of the date of application.
(Added 4-27-2011 by O-20043 N.S.; effective 5-27-2011.) (Amended 2-6-2015 by O-20460 N.S.; effective 3-8-2015.) (Retitled from “Cooperatives–Permit Required” to “Outlets–Permit Required” and amended 2-22-2017 by O-20795 N.S.; effective 4-12-2017.)
(a) This Division does not apply to the cultivation of marijuana by a qualified patient at that patient’s home, so long as the patient is only growing for his or her own personal medical needs in a manner consistent with state law.
(b) This Division does not apply to the cultivation of six or fewer marijuana plants within a private residence or an accessory structure to that residence that is fully enclosed and secure. For the purposes of this section, a private residence means a house, apartment unit, mobile home, or other similar dwelling.
(Added 4-27-2011 by O-20043 N.S.; effective 5-27-2011.) (Amended 2-6-2015 by O-20460 N.S.; effective 3-8-2015.) (Amended 2-22-2017 by O-20795 N.S.; effective 4-12-2017.)
§42.1506 Outlets–Cost Recovery Fees
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code, the City may recover its costs in the form of a permit fee for the costs of permitting and regulating marijuana outlets.
(Added 4-27-2011 by O-20043 N.S.; effective 5-27-2011.) (Retitled from “Cooperatives–Cost Recovery Fees” to “Outlets–Cost Recovery Fees” and amended 2-22-2017 by O-20795 N.S.; effective 4-12-2017.)
§42.1507 Outlets–Background Checks
(a) All responsible persons in the marijuana outlet shall undergo fingerprinting prior to acting as a responsible person. The fingerprints shall be provided to and kept on file with the City.
(b) The City shall conduct a background check of all responsible persons. Any person who has been convicted of a violent felony or a crime of moral turpitude within the past seven years, cannot act as a responsible person in the marijuana outlet. A conviction is complete upon entry of judgment upon a finding of guilty, or upon entry of a plea of guilty, or upon entry of a plea of nolo contendere or “no contest,” regardless of the pendency of any appeal, or expungement pursuant to California Penal Code section 1203.4, 1203.4a, or 1203.41.
(c) It is unlawful for any responsible person to act as a responsible person for the marijuana outlet if he or she:
(1) fails to provide their fingerprints to the City; or
(2) has been convicted of a violent felony or crime of moral turpitude within the past seven years.
(d) The cost of the fingerprinting and attendant background check shall be borne by the responsible person.
(Added 4-27-2011 by O-20043 N.S.; effective 5-27-2011.) (Amended 2-6-2015 by O-20460 N.S.; effective 3-8-2015.) (Retitled from “Cooperatives–Background Checks” to “Outlets– Background Checks” and amended 2-22-2017 by O-20795 N.S.; effective 4-12-2017.)
§42.1508 Outlets–Operational Requirements
(a) Verification and Documentation A marijuana outlet shall maintain and provide upon request by the City a current list of all responsible persons.
(b) Age Limitations
(1) No person under the age of twenty-one is allowed at or in any marijuana outlet unless the person is a qualified patient or state identification card holder, and if under the age of eighteen, is accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or a primary caregiver who is over the age of eighteen.
(2) No person under the age of twenty-one may be employed by or act as a responsible person on behalf of a marijuana outlet.
All persons transporting medical marijuana in connection with a marijuana outlet shall do so in accordance with state law and Chapter 14, Article 1, Division 5.
(Retitled from “Cooperatives–Verification and Documentation” to “Cooperatives– Operational Requirements” and amended 2-6-2015 by O-20460 N.S.; effective 3-8-2015.) (Retitled from “Cooperatives–Operational Requirements” to “Outlets–Operational Requirements” and amended 2-22 2017 by O-20795 N.S.; effective 4-12-2017.)
§42.1509 Outlets–Regulatory Actions on Permit
(a) In addition to any penalties and remedies provided by law, a Marijuana Outlet Permit is subject to any of the following regulatory actions:
(1) non-compliance with this Division or any condition of this permit;
(2) conviction of any crime which would have been grounds for denial of the permit;
(3) failure to take corrective action after timely written notice of a violation;
(4) failure to supervise the business, resulting in a pattern of violations of the San Diego Municipal Code or other provisions of law by the responsible persons or patrons, or both. A revocation based on the act or omission of a patron may be based on a determination that a responsible person caused or condoned the act or omission, or failed to take reasonable corrective action after a timely written notice of violation; or
(5) violation of any state or local law or regulation pertaining to the business.
(b) Regulatory action includes the following:
(1) Issuance of a verbal warning;
(2) Issuance of a written warning;
(3) Issuance of a notice of violation;
(4) Placing conditions upon the permit which are reasonably related to any violation. Unless otherwise stated as part of the condition, all such conditions expire when the permit expires, excluding any time stayed during an appeal;
(5) Suspension of the Marijuana Outlet Permit; or
(6) Revocation of the Marijuana Outlet Permit.
(c) Written notice of the regulatory actions taken pursuant to section 42.1509(b)(2) through (b)(6) shall be provided to the individual identified as the responsible managing officer pursuant to section 42.1504(b).
(d) A request for an appeal hearing of the regulatory actions taken pursuant to section 42.1509(b)(2) through (b)(6) may be made by the responsible managing officer.
(e) The request for an appeal hearing must be made in writing to the City Manager within ten calendar days of the receipt of the notice of regulatory action.
(f) Upon receiving the request for a hearing, the City Manager shall set hearing not more than thirty calendar days from the date of the receipt of the request, unless a later date is agreed to by the City an the responsible managing officer in writing.
(g) The City Manager shall notify the responsible managing officer of the date, time, and place of the hearing by means of registered or certified mail, or hand delivery.
(h) The hearing shall be conducted by a hearing officer provided by the City Manager.
(i) The hearing officer may affirm, deny, or modify the regulatory action, and shall furnish the reason for the decision to the responsible managing officer in writing within thirty calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing.
(j) The regulatory action shall be suspended while an appeal is pending, or until the time for filing such an appeal has expired, except for regulatory action taken when the City Manager determines there is a need to take immediate action to protect the public from injury or harm or when the Marijuana Outlet Permit was based on material misrepresentations in the application and the permit would not have been issued but for the material misrepresentations.
(Retitled from “Cooperatives–Not-for-Profit” to “Cooperatives-Regulatory Actions on Permit” and amended 2-6-2015 by O-20460 N.S.; effective 3-8-2015.) (“Retitled from “Cooperatives–Regulatory Actions on Permit” to “Outlets–Regulatory Actions on Permit” and amended 2-22-2017 by O-20795 N.S.; effective 4-12-2017.)
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