A county marijuana ordinance will reportedly be voted upon by the SLO County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. It will limit outdoor cultivation operations to 50 countywide, and will place no limits on indoor cultivation. This aspect of the Planning Commission’s proposed ordinance should be rejected.
It is an unwarranted and counterproductive governmental intrusion into the private-sector marketplace, and drives consumers to unregulated production methods and questionable quality of marijuana. It would prolong an “underground” economy in “naturally” grown marijuana, given the market is here to stay, and likely increase electricity and chemical use in artificial enclosures.
It would place small, independent outdoor operators at a competitive disadvantage, and place an undo burden on incorporated cities by squeezing operations into them while also reducing the county’s tax income as the need for enforcement and oversight increases.
What other types of businesses are subjected to a limit of only 50 operations in the county’s jurisdiction? It would virtually institutionalize the monopolization of this enterprise, restricted to a privileged few receiving permits, while excluding many producers farming this plant.
As with alcohol and nicotine, regulation is required, e.g., the California Valley prohibition. But not this draconian one.
David Broadwater, Atascadero