About the Colony

Atascadero wants your thoughts on how to regulate marijuana

Lon Allan
Lon Allan jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The Atascadero City Council wants public input on how to deal with the recreational use of marijuana in the community.

You may recall that California voters passed Proposition 64 in November, permitting each city to adopt its own rules on the drug. To get that input, the council has scheduled three public meetings — the first on Wednesday — on what this city’s regulations should be on the use, sale and production of recreational pot.

The hearings will be:

▪  Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. in the City Council chambers;

▪  Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the council chambers; and

▪  March 2, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Atascadero Lake Pavilion.

I’ve never tried pot. I actually oppose its use. What I find interesting is how upset people get regarding marijuana use but not beer and wine. I don’t see that kind of concern with the opening of a new liquor store. In fact, in Atascadero, you can buy booze at the local movie theater.

Nobody seems to be neutral on the subject of marijuana. There are concerns about who gets access to the drug (minors), or what we do about people who smoke pot and drive. The penalties should be the same as those for drunken driving.

The production of marijuana is already an issue. I think it’s going to be a very popular agricultural commodity in the near future. Pot growing is taking off throughout San Luis Obispo County. And for some, especially those who live near pot-growing farms, there are concerns about the heavy use of water to grow the plant and the impact from lighting.

The city wants us to weigh in on the issue. The council and staff want to hear firsthand from the public about what regulations should be put in place. I think it is a good idea that the council has scheduled this series of open houses

According to Terrie Banish, deputy city manager, “There are a variety of feelings about this new proposition that are not comfortable for most people to ask in a public hearing.”

I agree with her when she said in a news release that the forums would provide just the right atmosphere to discuss the topic.

Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 805-466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.