Cannabis Advocacy Groups Launch Citizen Survey to Gauge Level of Support for Inner-City Access

by on May 18, 2023 · 4 comments

in Civil Rights, San Diego

Roll Up for Cannabis Equity – a Monthly Column

By Terrie Best

Three of San Diego’s oldest cannabis advocacy groups have launched a survey titled Roll Up For Equity, the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access, San Diego Blue Dream Democratic Club and San Diego NORML have printed citizens survey cards for community members to fill out which gauge feelings about cannabis proximity to neighborhoods, social equity and consumption lounges.

The coalition plans to canvass over the summer and present the cards to the City Council and the Board of Supervisors at intervals.

After almost a decade of testing the waters on cannabis access both the city and county finally took up the conversation about a more permissive cannabis industry and land use policy to better serve its residents and thousands of cannabis patients.

The Roll Up For Equity survey is designed to provide the political cover lawmakers need to actually change municipal codes and allow retail outlets closer into tourist and transit areas.

Both government bodies have also exhibited an eye toward opening the market to people who have historically been left out as well as mitigating some of the harms brought on by the drug war. In fact, the entire state is helping things along by giving grant money to communities for the purpose of studying inequities and crafting social equity programs to address key findings of police bias in neighborhoods and communities of color.

San Diego has a great chance to move cannabis to a more equitable existence. Plus, providing a pathway to regulation for the illicit market will address a longtime thorn in the sides of the current permitted cannabis market. Permitted operators complain that unpermitted sellers do not have the steep obstacles and taxes they face in simple compliance so ushering unpermitted sellers into compliance is a win-win for us all. And, patients benefit by shorter commutes and increased product availability if there are more outlets strategically placed. .

Years ago, when both the county and city regulated cannabis the political landscape was different and convincing lawmakers to grant citizens access to cannabis medicine was a tough sell. Dianne Jacob and Bill Horn on the board of supervisors detested the idea and Carl DeMaio along with Kevin Falconer, then city council members, fought using outdated fear-tactics designed to slow commercial cannabis down.

Now most lawmakers in both local governments have a better understanding of the industry; have watched success stories; seen patients’ lives improve and they see the political will the would-be industry is exercising. The appetite for creating a more equitable, sustainable and thriving landscape that takes in environmental and social issues has never been stronger.

Do politicians have the courage to actually finish the job and ease entry to the market? The coalition formed to launch the Roll Up For Equity wants to make sure lawmakers know what the survey says. As Johann Balbuena, co-spokesperson of the campaign put it to City Council:

“As you [lawmakers] go through the process of re-assessing safe access, we thought these survey cards would be valuable for you to understand just how much support there is for cannabis in our city’s neighborhoods. We see this support daily and we want you to see it as well. We want you to know you are doing the right thing and to feel good about that.”

Patients deserve safe and convenient access to the medicine they choose. Cannabis equity is an inclusive entry to the market as well as outlets in areas closer to where people reside.

There is a webform version of the anonymous survey where participants’ digital answers will be recorded onto postcards. To participate, please click here.  It takes about 45 seconds.

Terrie Best is the head of San Diego’s  Americans for Safe Access


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Hellen Handbasket May 18, 2023 at 5:04 pm

Hey, I’ll take it!


Terrie Best May 19, 2023 at 6:12 am

Wouldn’t it be grand to have a diverse cannabis market where the people are! Thanks for the comment, Hellen. : )


sealintheSelkirks May 19, 2023 at 9:06 pm

Wouldn’t it be nice to just GROW OUR OWN in the backyard and not have to worry about all this government revenue-producing crap?

I love growing my own.



Terrie Best May 23, 2023 at 6:19 am

We are very lucky that the right to grow has not been taken from us under state law. Thanks for cultivating cannabis!


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