Following in the steps of other local cities, Grover Beach will consider a ban on medical marijuana cultivation, in light of recent state legislation.
At its meeting Monday night, the City Council directed staff to return with an ordinance banning medical marijuana cultivation within city limits.
This comes after other lengthy discussions by the cities of Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo, as well as the county Board of Supervisors regarding the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which set a March 1 deadline for local governments to have ordinances in place that govern medical marijuana cultivation or the state Department of Food and Agriculture would become the sole licensing authority by default.
In the past weeks, cities across the state have been left scrambling to come up with ordinances in advance of the bill’s March 1 deadline.
That deadline was included in the bill by accident, Assemblyman Jim Wood announced in an open letter to city and county officials on Dec. 17. Wood is a co-author of the legislation.
“During the scramble at the end of the legislative session this year, an inadvertent drafting error placed a deadline on local jurisdictions, requiring them to adopt their own land use regulations for medical cannabis cultivation by March 1, 2016, or turn that responsibility over to the state,” Wood wrote in the letter. “As soon as I was aware of the error, I published a letter in the Assembly Journal, the official record of the Assembly, declaring my intention to pass urgency legislation as soon as the Legislature reconvenes in January.”
Despite the announcement, the Grover Beach City Council still debated the issue at its meeting Monday night and ultimately directed staff to bring back an ordinance banning cultivation, to be considered at its first meeting in January.
Unlike other agencies, the Grover Beach council specified Monday night that the new ordinance should not ban cultivation that is allowed under the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which makes it legal for patients and their designated primary caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use with a physician’s approval.
The council also directed staff to return after March 1 with information regarding available options for mobile dispensaries and delivery of medical marijuana within city limits.
Last week, the San Luis Obispo City Council reaffirmed its interpretation of city zoning codes that commercial cultivation of medical marijuana is prohibited. The Pismo Beach City Council directed its staff to write an ordinance on pot cultivation for the council to consider. Also, the county Board of Supervisors directed its staff to craft an ordinance regulating the number and location of medical marijuana plants that could be grown in unincorporated areas.
The Arroyo Grande City Council is scheduled to vote on a ban on Jan. 14.