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Santa Barbara County considers limits on pot retail shops, grow operations

Recreational weed is now legal in California. So what does that mean?

In January 2018, state and local authorities will begin issuing licenses for the sale of legal recreational marijuana. But what do you need to know before you rush to the dispensary? Information courtesy of Ballotpedia.com.
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In January 2018, state and local authorities will begin issuing licenses for the sale of legal recreational marijuana. But what do you need to know before you rush to the dispensary? Information courtesy of Ballotpedia.com.

Santa Barbara County supervisors talked about capping retail marijuana shops and limiting grow operations Tuesday, as the board got an update from the ad hoc committee that has been crafting proposed regulations for non-medical marijuana.

Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors adopted an urgency ordinance to ban the cultivation, distribution, transportation, storage, manufacturing and processing of recreational marijuana.

The temporary rules also ban the selling of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use and the growth of industrial hemp. They were put in place to allow county staff time to develop permanent rules for marijuana operations in Santa Barbara County.

On Tuesday, supervisors and members of the public got an update from the ad hoc committee, which has been meeting since March to discuss rules for cannabis operations. Santa Barbara County is developing an environmental impact report for the proposed ordinance, and the document is expected to be released for public review by the first week of October.

Now that marijuana is legal in California, wedding vendors on the Central Coast are planning for brides and grooms who want to add some green to their something old, new, borrowed and blue.

The county’s focus in developing cannabis regulations has been on land-use permitting (particularly for cultivation), business licensing and fees.

First District Supervisor Das Williams said he favored banning all marijuana delivery services countywide but allowing dispensary storefronts if retail cannabis sales are permitted in the future. He believes delivery services are much more vulnerable to crime than storefronts.

“All they are is an app in the county,” Williams said. “We can’t effectively (regulate) a delivery service.”

Williams and other board members also voiced support for capping the number of retail business licenses allowed, if the county permits them at all. Williams didn’t propose a specific number.

The supervisors also appeared to agree that they didn’t want any recreational marijuana activities such as outdoor grows in residential areas, with Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam advocating for activities to only be permitted on parcels 40 acres or larger.

The issue will return to the Board of Supervisors’ agenda in November.

Meanwhile in San Luis Obispo County, a temporary urgency ordinance that limits the number of marijuana farms in unincorporated areas and requires growers to register their operations with the county was extended for a year, or until supervisors adopt a permanent ordinance. That action was taken in late August. A permanent ordinance for San Luis Obispo County, 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.

Californian voters passed Proposition 64 in November legalizing marijuana for recreational use, and the state is expected to begin issuing licenses to establish businesses such as cannabis clubs and pot shops by a Jan. 1, 2018, deadline.

Noozhawk contributing writer April Charlton can be reached at news@noozhawk.com.

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