Escondido Won't Budge On Cannabis Dispensaries Ban – KPBS

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: A marijuana bud on display at Hidden Leaf Collective, May 28, 2021.

Despite most Escondido residents voting for Proposition 64 to legalize recreational cannabis in 2016, you still won’t be able to find a legal dispensary in the city.

On May 19, the city council voted 3-2 to continue a prohibition on legal cannabis dispensaries. While the county is leaning toward allowing dispensaries in unincorporated areas, Escondido is not alone as San Marcos has a similar ban.

Karla Aguilar said continuing the ban will only hurt those on the bottom rungs of society. People of color have traditionally been targeted by law enforcement during the war on drugs and Aguilar said this will continue to widen the inequity.

“The lack of dispensaries and access to cannabis has become devastating especially for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities who do not have reliable transportation to drive upwards to 30 minutes to obtain cannabis,” she said at the meeting.

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Marcello Castillo, co-owner of the medical cannabis delivery service Hidden Leaf Collective, was disappointed with the council’s vote after he had lined up a location and lease to open a new store in the city. But Castillo said he understands where the council was coming from.

β€œIt really kind of put us down a little bit but then also we had a kind of think about the perspective of why Escondido City had done that,” he said. “And we were thinking, well you know it is kind of a good benefit for the for that particular city in some areas too because of the high crimes and things like that.”

An increase in crime was one

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