CALIFORNIA: An obscure environmental regulation is adding turbulence to the already controversial approval process facing applicants competing to open San Diego’s first legal marijuana dispensaries, city officials said this week.
While the city’s first three legal dispensaries appear poised to open early next year, a dozen applicants behind them in the process are facing multi-week delays because their environmental exemptions, which were previously considered a formality, have been appealed.
The appeals appear to be strategic attempts by some applicants to get a leg up on their competitors, rather than someone raising genuine concerns about how a dispensary would impact the environment around it, attorneys working for some of the applicants said.
“People seem to feel that if they don’t appeal their competitors, they’re going to be the chump who then turns around and is facing an appeal,” said attorney Jessica McElfresh. “It’s really unfortunate because the process shouldn’t be abused like this.”