Pot dispensaries in SLO County: A history

newsroom@thetribunenews.comMay 6, 2013 

In this March 2007 photo, Deputy John Franklin helps federal agents and sheriff's detectives remove marijuana after search warrants were served at Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers medical marijuana dispensary in Morro Bay.

JOE JOHNSTON — The Tribune

San Luis Obispo County has had a contentious relationship with medical marijuana dispensaries since 2006, when the county became the 21st in California to issue cards to qualified medical marijuana patients and their primary caregivers.

In 2007, the county Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance allowing medical marijuana dispensaries. The ordinance stipulates that dispensaries cannot be in a downtown business area or within 1,000 feet of any school, library, playground, park or youth recreation area.

A dispensary in Morro Bay that opened in 2006 was closed a little more than a year later, after county Sheriff’s Office and federal Drug Enforcement Agency officials raided Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers and said they found federal and state violations. However, voters in that city narrowly defeated a proposal to ban dispensaries in November 2010.

In March 2010, the Atascadero City Council approved a permanent ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, though they supported an exemption to allow caregivers to deliver to qualified medical marijuana patients inside city limits.

And in October 2012, the Arroyo Grande City Council voted unanimously to prohibit mobile medical marijuana dispensaries from operating within the city.

County officials, meanwhile, have more or less blocked storefront dispensaries on the Central Coast.

In 2008, county supervisors barred a medical marijuana dispensary planned for Templeton. County planning commissioners had voted to approve it.

In 2010, both the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission rejected a dispensary in Nipomo. And plans to open a separate medical marijuana collective near Nipomo were brought to a halt in 2011 after the building owners — including former lieutenant governor and Central Coast lawmaker Abel Maldonado — indicated they had never agreed to lease or sell the property for that use.

In March 2012, county supervisors shot down an application for a medical marijuana facility in Oceano, reversing a move the Planning Commission made in November 2011 to approve the proposal.

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