Atascadero has become the final city in the county to officially ban medical marijuana cultivation facilities in the city — including at-home growth.
The Atascadero City Council unanimously approved a ban Tuesday night that prohibits marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana dispensaries, commercial cannabis activities and medical marijuana deliveries. The new ordinance will return to the City Council for a second reading at its meeting Jan. 26.
With the decision, Atascadero joins Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, and Paso Robles in banning all cultivation in their respective cities. Grover Beach and Morro Bay have both included exceptions in their ordinances to allow for limited at-home cultivation as allowed under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, while the city of San Luis Obispo chose not to pass new regulations regarding medical marijuana cultivation at its meeting in December, reaffirming its longstanding interpretation that commercial medical marijuana cultivation is already prohibited under the city’s zoning regulations.
The bans are some of a handful being passed or considered in the state in recent months in light of the California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which set a March 1 deadline for local governments to have laws in place that govern medical marijuana cultivation or the state Department of Food and Agriculture would become the sole licensing authority by default.
On Jan. 4, Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg — who co-authored the legislation — submitted cleanup language to the state to remove the deadline, but it still needs to be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown before the deadline is officially removed.
Atascadero previously had a ban on both brick-and-mortar and mobile medical marijuana dispensaries where medical marijuana is made available to one or more primary caregivers, according to a city staff report. It did not have any express regulations regarding marijuana cultivation, though it had “consistently taken the position that the Zoning Code prohibits all medical marijuana businesses,” according to the report.