California Weed

SLO County tweaks marijuana rules, eliminating a lucrative side business opportunity

When San Luis Obispo County supervisors adopted a cannabis ordinance in November, they allowed only 141 people who met certain criteria to apply for a permit to legally grow commercial marijuana in the county.

Those cultivators soon learned the value of what they had. Companies and investors from across the country called with offers of thousands of dollars to buy those rights. Some were offered a cut of future profits if they sold.

But that mini-market popped Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors tweaked the county’s ordinance to disallow selling application rights.

The ordinance allowed only the 141 people who had registered their grow sites with the county as a collective or cooperative to apply for the newly created land-use permits to cultivate.

Supervisor Debbie Arnold said Tuesday that the board intended to help existing businesses in the county, not encourage outside investors.

Supervisor Bruce Gibson proposed the change along with other tweaks that help other cultivators to keep their local operations.

County staff said about 20 people failed to register their farms as collectives or cooperatives due to a clerical error. The board said those people can now apply for a permit, with the Planning Department’s approval.

In addition, 19 cultivators had registered as two kinds of operations — they checked both collective and caregiver, for example. County staff said a programming error had prevented those cultivators from applying for county permits. The board said they can now apply.

Monica Vaughan: 805-781-7930, @MonicaLVaughan

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune