A local resident has applied to open a medical-marijuana collective near Nipomo that could also include some holistic health services and classes.
If David Rosenthal’s application moves ahead successfully, it could become the second medical marijuana collective operating in San Luis Obispo County. The planning commission approved plans Nov. 3 for Tammy Murray of Oceano to open a collective, called Compassionate Cannabis Information Center, at 1409 S. Fourth St.
So far, no one has appealed the Oceano project to the county Board of Supervisors. Today is the deadline to do so.
But it is arguably a tenuous time for anyone wanting to open a medical marijuana facility — even more so in San Luis Obispo County, where such proposals have historically not been well received.
Most of the county’s seven cities have rules in place banning medical marijuana dispensaries.
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors approved rules allowing medical marijuana facilities in 2007, but later shot down two other proposals.
County Senior Planner Bill Robeson said Rosenthal’s application to open a collective at 115 Cuyama Lane appears to meet the county’s land-use requirements for medical marijuana facilities. The stand-alone building is located near the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara county line and is surrounded by commercial businesses, he said.
By law, dispensaries must be located at least 1,000 feet from any preschool, kindergarten-through-12th-grade school, library, park, playground or recreation or youth center.
Rosenthal’s proposed project is about 1,500 to 2,000 feet away from the Santa Maria Speedway, and Robeson wasn’t sure whether the track would fall into the same category as a recreation center.
Rosenthal, a cancer patient who has served about 400 patients in the county through his collective, TerraFarma, this past year, said Wednesday that he’s still working on plans for his facility with a partner and would release more details later.
But, he said, his goal is to provide a stable location where ill patients can seek support from community services and classes.
“Our goal is to embody the true sense of what the citizens of California tried to do with the passage of medical marijuana initiatives,” he said.
California voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, exempting some patients and their primary caregivers from criminal prosecution for possessing and cultivating marijuana.
But the legality of medical marijuana operations remains murky. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said in a recent interview that he’s been pushing the state Attorney General’s Office to define state law on medical marijuana.
In the past, the Sheriff’s Office has opposed plans for medical marijuana facilities. Parkinson’s office objected to the Oceano project earlier this month, citing concerns that he wouldn’t be able to meet the need for increased patrol in the area with current staffing.
The issue of regulating medical marijuana is playing out in cities and counties throughout California, with some taking action to limit or ban dispensaries.
In Sacramento last month, the city manager enacted a “temporary freeze” on new permits for medical marijuana dispensaries as federal authorities launched a series of crackdowns on the facilities around the state, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Earlier this week, Fresno County supervisors rejected recommendations by an advisory group to loosen the county’s strict marijuana regulations, which ban pot dispensaries and prohibit people from growing marijuana anywhere but in industrial areas, according to The Fresno Bee.