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Grover Beach plans to open SLO County's first cannabis lounges 

With Grover Beach set to introduce lounges to its commercial cannabis stores, San Luis Obispo County residents can partake in public closer to home.

At its Jan. 10 meeting, the City Council approved its four permitted retailers to add indoor and outdoor cannabis lounges to their store properties.

click to enlarge BLOSSOMING SALES Grover Beach's proposed cannabis lounges are poised to strengthen its flourishing cannabis industry that makes up 15 percent of the city's general funds. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • File Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • BLOSSOMING SALES Grover Beach's proposed cannabis lounges are poised to strengthen its flourishing cannabis industry that makes up 15 percent of the city's general funds.

"Pending council adoption of an ordinance in March, retailers could apply for a permit later this spring followed by a permit review process of approximately 90 days to approve and issue a permit," Grover Beach City Manager Matthew Bronson said. "The timeframe from there in having an operational lounge is dependent upon the construction of the lounge space by the retailers."

The cannabis industry has been blossoming in Grover Beach ever since 70 percent of city voters supported the Measure L-16 cannabis tax in 2016. In the 2021 fiscal year, it contributed $2 million to the city in tax revenue, which is approximately 15 percent of Grover Beach's general fund. Bronson anticipates the lounges to boost cannabis and sales tax revenue. Currently, some of the closest lounges to kick back in are located in Lompoc (Santa Barbara County), Coalinga (Fresno County), and Lemoore (Kings County).

The city authorized its three existing cannabis stores—805 Beach Breaks, Natural Healing Center, and Urbn Leaf—and Jushi, the fourth under construction, to apply for commercial cannabis permits.

"The council's direction for the draft ordinance included allowing food and nonalcoholic beverages in cannabis lounges to the extent permitted by the state while providing flexibility to allow food to be brought onto the premises or provided by delivery services," Bronson said. "The direction also allows retailers to operate both indoor and outdoor lounge spaces as long as ventilation systems are installed to prevent odors from being detected from adjacent properties and public right-of-way."

According to the city, the Grover Beach Police Department would help lounge operators and employers identify impaired customers to prevent over-serving of cannabis. The city said it would also include discussions with retailers about safe customer transport options like ride shares, appointing designated drivers, and having shuttle bus programs. Grover Beach is considering setting the operation hours between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with enhanced security.

"The city has worked diligently to make sure the industry operates in a safe and responsible way while generating economic benefits for the city. That said, the council requested that staff carry out additional public notification regarding the upcoming ordinance to ensure the public is aware of this proposed activity and has an opportunity to provide input," Bronson said. Δ

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