It’s official—every single city in San Luis Obispo County has placed restrictive bans on the cultivation of medical marijuana. On Jan. 19, the Atascadero City Council pulled up the rear of the heard, unanimously voting to ban all types of cultivation including for private use by patients who use medical cannabis.
The ban was triggered by a March 1 deadline set by new state laws that will regulate the medical marijuana industry. In order to maintain local control over licensing—a key part of the new laws—localities must have a policy in place to regulate cultivation by March 1. In response, most SLO County cities passed an outright ban, with the exceptions of Grover Beach and Morro Bay, which will allow limited cultivation by patients and caregivers.
Atascadero already bans both brick-and-mortar and mobile medical marijuana dispensaries.
The county has yet to make a decision on its policy, and will consider an ordinance to regulate cultivation in the unincorporated areas in early February.
Atascadero resident Kim Porter addressed one nuisance-based reason that has at times been used by local cities to prohibit outdoor cultivation—smell.
“My neighbor owns three cows. All summer long, that’s what I smell. I don’t complain,” Porter said.
But, more importantly, Porter noted that there are people who rely on or provide medical marijuana that want to do so properly and legally, and this ban could become a problem for them.
“Listen to what folks are saying,” she said. “We are concerned. We don’t want the strong arm of the law coming down on legal users.”
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay