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Limit on marijuana farms extended as supervisors work on permanent rules

An inside look at a marijuana growing operation

A close-up look at Forbidden Farms' marijuana growing operation in Shelton and the processing facility on the Tacoma Tideflats in Washington. Owned by the Balduff brothers Garrett and Taylor, the premium producer even supplies cannabis connoisseur
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A close-up look at Forbidden Farms' marijuana growing operation in Shelton and the processing facility on the Tacoma Tideflats in Washington. Owned by the Balduff brothers Garrett and Taylor, the premium producer even supplies cannabis connoisseur

A temporary urgency ordinance that limits the number of marijuana farms in unincorporated areas and requires growers to register their operations with San Luis Obispo County has been extended for a year or until county supervisors adopt a permanent ordinance.

The permanent ordinance, set for review on Oct. 3, is expected to include a cap on the number of grows. A recent draft of the ordinance set that cap at 100.

Following a boom of marijuana farms in California Valley, the board in September 2016 adopted an urgency ordinance limiting commercial marijuana grows to those already in the ground as of Aug. 23, 2016, and prohibited those operations from expanding. The measure also required growers to take other measures such as installing fencing, site setbacks from neighboring parcels, posting addresses and requiring cultivation sites to meet applicable building codes.

The ordinance contains exemptions for medical marijuana patients or caregivers who meet certain criteria.

The board extended the temporary rules for an additional 10 months in October 2016, and it was set to expire Sept. 19 before Tuesday’s vote.

According to a county staff report, 455 growers have applied to register with the county, 288 of those in California Valley. Among the others, 89 applicants were in the North County, 48 in the South County and four in San Luis Obispo. The county has approved 335 of those applications.

Larry and Candice Montenegro were struggling to pay the bills living in California Valley near Carrizo Plain. But now Larry Montengro delivers water pumped from his own two wells to about 60 marijuana growers in the area. They say the cannabis ind

The board also voted Tuesday to move forward with an amendment to county code that will allow for the issuance of licenses for cannabis businesses. That will also come back before the board for a public hearing Oct. 3.

Since adopting the urgency ordinance, the county has filed civil lawsuits in San Luis Obispo Superior Court against several growers the county says are out of compliance and a “public nuisance” — noting that they are having an adverse impact on water resources, sensitive animal habitat, energy consumption and public safety.

Proposition 64 establishes one ounce of marijuana, or 8 grams of cannabis concentrates, as the legal limit for recreational pot possession for adults over age 21. Here are examples of actual amounts of products someone could carry now that Califor

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