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Arroyo Grande police chief mulls mobile marijuana applications

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Arroyo Grande is dipping its toe into allowing mobile medical marijuana delivery businesses to operate in the city, and just who will get that privilege is mostly up to the city’s top cop.

The 30-day period for prospective businesses to submit applications for mobile dispensary licenses ends Dec. 6. While the licensing policy was developed by city staff and approved by City Council, it is Arroyo Grande Police Chief Steven Annibali who will both review and decide which applications get the green light.

The application is 20 pages long and requires would-be licensees to submit a wide range of information about their businesses and their delivery drivers. Requirements include detailing how the business will handle security, product control testing, and even asks them to describe the specific strains of medical marijuana they plan to carry. According to the application, the approval process is multi-phased and incudes interviews, background checks, and drug testing for drivers. 

“Since this is the first time this process has been introduced, we will have to estimate a timeline,” Annibali wrote in an email response to New Times. “Our initial estimate is 60 to 90 days depending on the applicant’s background.”

The application also contains language that requires applicants to be “of good moral character,” something Annibali said was not uncommon.

“In general, an applicant is considered to be of good moral character if they pass the required background check and do not have any serious documented instances of poor judgment in their recent past,” Annibali wrote. “This includes the qualities of honesty, fairness, candor, trustworthiness, observance of fiduciary responsibility, respect for and obedience to the laws of the state and the nation, and respect for the rights of others. This is especially important when you are licensing the dispensing of medical marijuana to approved patients.”

Under the permitting regulations, Annibali has the final say in which businesses are allowed licenses. Current city policy allows for up to three delivery service licenses to be approved. As of Nov. 22, Annibali said only one business had actually submitted a completed application, but he had fielded several inquires about the process.

While the application process will be long and extensive, Molly Ann Kasdan, a consultant who works with local medical marijuana businesses and reviewed the application process, said Arroyo Grande’s policy was a “step in the right direction.”

“It’s a pretty extensive application, and they ask for a lot of personal information about the drivers,” Kasdan told New Times. “But I understand why they are asking the questions they are asking. I think it will weed out the people that aren’t serious.”

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