New Times San Luis Obispo

SLO County will revisit cannabis regs

Peter Johnson and Chris McGuinness Jan 4, 2018 4:00 AM

While marijuana became a legal commodity in California on Jan. 1, that's hardly the case in San Luis Obispo County.

In the budding cannabis cultivation market, county officials told New Times they aren't allowing state regulators to issue business licenses to 33 SLO growers trying to enter the legal market, as of press time.

That's because of the parameters in a new county ordinance, which requires any cannabis grow or business to first apply for a local discretionary permit—a process that's expected to take several months to complete—before they're given local authorization for any state licensing.

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RED TAPE SLO County supervisors will take another look at its cannabis ordinance as more than 30 local growers are barred from receiving state licenses under the local regulations.

But realizing cultivators could face shutting down or operating in the black market in the meantime, SLO County supervisors have decided to revisit the rules at a Jan. 9 board meeting.

"County counsel said, 'We do believe they need some sort of [permission] letter to continue operating. The state needs this letter,'" said 1st District Supervisor John Peschong, who chairs the Board of Supervisors.

Only cultivators will be considered eligible for immediate local authorization, according to a county staff report, which would allow growers located in allowed zones, at the permissible size, and who have submitted local permit applications to obtain a 90-day temporary state license.

"We're starting with cultivation because that's where the need is," Peschong said.

As the county works through its growing pains, local residents everywhere in SLO County are going to have a hard time purchasing legal recreational marijuana. There are no local storefront dispensaries, and neither the county nor its seven cities have permitted a delivery service to sell recreational pot. Only one local delivery service has received both a local and a state permit so far to sell medical marijuana—Elite Care California in Arroyo Grande.

Medical cannabis delivery services based outside of SLO County are allowed to deliver to private residences in most areas of SLO.

"Our delivery services have been very professional," Pismo Beach City Manager Jim Lewis told New Times. "We have had no complaints or issues." Δ