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Marijuana dispensary gets green light 

After many delays, a medical marijuana dispensary in Templeton has been approved.

On Jan. 10, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission voted 3-2 in favor of allowing the dispensary, to be called North County Resource Center. The decision was up for a vote in both July and October but was delayed because too few commission members were in attendance at the meetings.

At the recent meeting, pro-dispensary supporters spoke to the commission about how medical marijuana has helped them deal with various diseases.

"We are very hopeful about being able to serve the public," said Kent Connella, who owns the property where the dispensary will be located. "It will provide them with medicine they need for their illnesses."

Not everyone was supportive of the cannabis co-op, which is scheduled to open at 3850 Ramada Drive.

"In order to approve any project, you have to make certain findings--like is it detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the public?" said commissioner Bob Roos, who opposed the dispensary. "And the other is, is it consistent with the character of the neighborhood? I couldn't make those findings."

Roos said, if anything, he wants the dispensary to be located in the open.

"This Ramada Drive is very secluded," he explained. "The place for these things to be is across the street from the police department."

Connella countered that he's not far from a sheriff's substation.

Though California voters approved the use of medical marijuana in the state more than 10 years ago, the federal government has maintained a no-tolerance policy, and has recently cracked down on cannabis co-ops, effectively shutting one down in Morro Bay last year.

Because of this, Connella's attorney, Lou Koory, said the Templeton dispensary will be providing education and information for patients and prospective patients.

"We're looking long term. We want it to still be there in five to 10 years," Koory said.

He added that, assuming there's no appeal, the dispensary should be open within a month.

Opponents of the dispensary have a two-week window to appeal the decision to the Board of Supervisors.

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