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SLO County supervisors to talk medical marijuana on Feb. 9 

San Luis Obispo County may be the only local government to successfully avoid passing hasty and controversial restrictions on medical marijuana cultivation.

That feat, however, will be up to the five-member Board of Supervisors, which will discuss the county’s options on Feb. 9.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, passed in 2015, creates an extensive regulatory framework for California’s multi-billion-dollar medical marijuana industry. The laws, which will require those in the industry to obtain licenses, include a hefty stipulation that gives local governments authority over what they will and will not permit, as well as a mistaken deadline that requires localities to have cultivation regulations in place by March 1 in order to maintain local control. 

While the laws’ sponsors pledged to remove that deadline, cities and counties across California scrambled to pass regulations out of an abundance of caution, including every city in SLO County—all have passed complete bans or restrictive policies for cultivation.

The legislative fix, however, sailed through committees and both legislative floors with unanimous votes. Gov. Brown signed the legislation on Feb. 3.

SLO County kept a close eye on that process and is dancing around options for regulating cultivation. Passing an urgency ordinance, which would act as a temporary program while several county departments sort out a more comprehensive set of regulations, is one of those options. The Board of Supervisors unanimously chose to direct staff to prepare a temporary ordinance in December, rather than passing a complete ban on cultivation.

Assistant County Administrator Guy Savage said that the county can still consider that route or they can opt to take a step back and focus on the long process of drafting a comprehensive ordinance.

Those options will be presented to the supervisors for direction and a possible decision on Feb. 9. 

-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay

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