Local Cannabis Legislation dooms Urban Economic Opportunity
By Vyncent DeVaughn
Economic opportunities that harbor definite transformative outcomes come few and far between. The reason populations explored the unknown of the Western Hemisphere throughout history, was in search of such rare opportunity. Within America, the oil fields of Texas and Gold Rush in California are historic factual testaments to this unforeseen reality. The Green Rush that is currently upon us, is no different. Legal Cannabis is here to stay. It will make a historic impact from an economic standpoint within our state and has the potential to transform the livelihoods of those permanently, who get proper licensing with a promising percentage of the market share. Everyone deserves a slice of this American pie. Especially in communities with urban gardens, which should be first in line. Yet even in this instance, like the rest of many urban realities, they don’t have a seat at the table. And here in San Diego the legislation passed during this year’s Juneteenth, is a clear indication of this.
San Diego City Council passed a vote, preventing cannabis growth in urban gardens. This calculated decision purports to provide safe access to healthy food, in low-income areas. They may call it “precautionary” for the sake of encouraging desired community interaction at these gardens, but I don’t buy it. Here’s why:
SDCC Council President Myrtle Cole, currently governs District 4 of San Diego. Where many residents who are the urban demographic, don’t know her, or what she’s doing. She’s the council president. And most likely, wants to keep herself in the running, with elections looming this November.
Yet, the true irony here lies with Darryl Cotton. An urban farmer, who once had his agricultural operation functioning out of Barrio Logan. It now resides in Lemon Grove, running on a clever hydroponic-aquaponic fusion system that saves 90% of the amount of water, regularly used per year to maintain a property. And he’s the only individual in the county of San Diego, with the former Prop 215 license to grow cannabis, hops and other agriculture on the same type of property, they are supposedly protecting the rest of the county from. Spending time with him, he left me in awe of the harsh reality, urban farmers face regarding basic resources. Darry stated a big point, that stuck with me during my visit to 151 farmers. He said,
“The percentage of urban farms that shut down due to lack of revenues, increased operational costs is over 75% within the first 2 years of startup. What good are tax incentives when you can’t even cover your operational costs? What good are tax incentives when there is not enough water to feed these gardens?”
Laws such as this, spell doom for this economic opportunity for those classified as urban. Once opportunity goes, so does necessary impact. And the potential revenue, all the enrichment to places needing it to provide human dignity to its citizens. It’s known by law, as the 9th amendment. This ordinance tricks people out of those rights as American citizens, targeting specific people, with failsafe tactics. The ultimate problem before us, is that few people know too much and abuse their power, and most people know too little and can’t organize quickly enough to use it effectively. Due to the crop’s projections to impact the state economy from a recreational standpoint, cannabis’s future disruption within the holistic and pharma related industries is guaranteed.
Let’s all ask ourselves this question. Why are the very communities that have been historically and disproportionately affected by our nation’s drug laws being excluded from the economic opportunities that medical cannabis represents? Original urban settlements once in Julian, and La Jolla that had fertile land which was used for agriculture purposes have dwindled, let alone exist anywhere in this county. We can no longer fall for the proverbial smoke screen, and clever language disguised as jurisdiction ordinances and legislation for the betterment of the community’s protection. See through, the smoke their blowing this time. With legislation like this, especially passed on June 19th, the same day that officially ended the emancipation of black slaves in the confederate south, most, never seeming to fully receive their rightful, just desserts. I’m feeling some kind of way about this. Words and dates have always had meaning within history, let’s not pretend to NOT see the Devil in these details. Medical cannabis is the new civil rights issue as far as I’m concerned. Someone’s got to say it. Cause it’s far from too late, to do something about it.
Words have meaning, and the Devil is ALWAYS in the DETAILS. Contact Vyncent @usual_vynce
The San Diego Monitor-News has been serving Black San Diego since 1986