A proposal for a medical marijuana collective in Oceano faces an uphill battle when it goes to the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission on Thursday.
Tammy Murray of Oceano said she’s not optimistic that the commission will vote in favor of her plans to open Compassionate Cannabis Information Center at 1409 S. Fourth St.
Murray said she’s going to give the hearing her best shot, even as she expressed frustration with rules that have essentially created a de facto moratorium on any medical marijuana centers from being able to set up shop in San Luis Obispo County.
“They really have written this ordinance in a way that no one can locate (here),” said Murray, who opened a similarly named collective in Goshen, southeast of Fresno, in 2008. “They’ve got our hands tied.”
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If approved, Murray’s collective would be the only such business operating in the county. Murray has said she wants to provide safe access to medical marijuana to those with a legitimate need and a physician’s recommendation, with an emphasis on disabled veterans and those who experience complications from standard medications.
Murray submitted an application to the county Planning and Building Department in May, proposing to open a 470-square-foot collective in a 931-square-foot single-family home on a property surrounded by a sprinkling of homes and mini-storage facilities.
But the chances of approval are slim, based on the results of past efforts to open medical marijuana dispensaries in the county.
Since the county Board of Supervisors approved rules allowing medical marijuana centers in 2007, three people have submitted plans, including Murray. The two previous applicants received little support.
Former county Sheriff Pat Hedges opposed both of the plans. A crime prevention specialist in Sheriff Ian Parkinson’s office has recommended the latest proposal be rejected.
Also, Murray’s proposed business is 922 feet from Oceano Park — less than the 1,000-foot distance that medical marijuana centers are required to meet for schools, playgrounds, and youth or recreation centers.
To drive from one location to the other, however, is about three-fourths of a mile, or 3,960 feet, according to a county staff report. Also, the park and the proposed collective are separated by Highway 1 and the railroad, and not visible to each other because the highway is 15 feet to 20 feet higher than Murray’s property.
The commission could make an exception to the distance requirement and allow Murray to move ahead, county Senior Planner Bill Robeson said. But planning staff has recommended the project be denied.
The Oceano Advisory Council, which advises planners and supervisors on projects and developments, has voted to support the staff’s recommendation based on the project’s location, law enforcement’s concerns, and the belief that the business would harm the community.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Specialist Marsha Mann wrote in a letter to Robeson that the agency wouldn’t be able to meet the need for increased patrol deputies in the area with its current staffing.
“We anticipate an increased workload in calls for service and reported crimes if this project were approved,” she wrote.
The county’s land use rules require medical marijuana facilities be located at least 1,000 feet from any school, library, playground, recreation or youth center. They also have to have a security plan that includes lighting, video cameras and an alarm system.
Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.