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Paso Robles gets ahead of recreational marijuana with new regulations 

Retaining local control of marijuana is, once again, on the agendas of SLO County’s municipalities.

In an effort to get in front of Proposition 64—the Adult Use of Marijuana Act—which, if passed in November, would legalize and tax recreational marijuana in California for adults 21 and older, the Paso Robles Planning Commission voted 4-3 on Aug. 30 to recommend that the City Council adopt an ordinance placing strict regulations on marijuana activity in the city.

The proposed ordinance would bar commercial marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, testing, and dispensaries or retailers. It disallows outdoor cultivation entirely. It bars medical marijuana “dispensaries, operators, establishments, and providers.” 

The ordinance would allow for both medical and recreational (if Proposition 64 passes) marijuana deliveries.

Warren Frace, Paso Robles community development director, explained why the city wanted to pre-empt Proposition 64’s passage with local regulations.

“It’s best to clarify the city’s position prior to the proposition passing, so that you don’t have this interim period where it’s just not clear what the rules are for staff, the police department, or the public,” Frace said. “The proposal is to move forward with adopting regulations, and then to do that community-wide discussion, workshop process early next year after we know what the outcome of the public vote is.”

Four members of the Planning Commission agreed, including Chairman Bob Rollins. 

“For me this comes down to risk versus benefit from a land-use perspective,” Rollins said. “My fear is if we do nothing, somebody will go out, buy a large building, put a bunch of money up on Nov. 1. Then, suddenly, we come back and suggest we don’t want large, corporate commercial [marijuana] grow facilities.”

The Paso Robles City Council will hold a study session on Sept. 6 in City Hall to get public input about the proposed marijuana ordinance. The City Council won’t make a decision on the ordinance until Sept. 20.

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