Correction: May 1, 2017
An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed Councilmember Brian Sturtevant’s opinion and quote.
While Atascadero city staff believes that beginning with tighter restrictions on marijuana is best, the City Council is taking its time making a decision on a new ordinance.
On Apr. 25, the council discussed the results of a Proposition 64 community outreach questionnaire. City staff held three public outreach meetings in February and March to discuss the process of creating municipal ordinances in reaction to Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in California. The meetings were followed by a voluntary questionnaire that drew more than 550 responses.
More than 70 percent of respondents were in favor of allowing indoor/outdoor cultivation, retail sales, testing facilities, manufacturing facilities and delivery services. However, when it came to smoking tobacco or marijuana in public places, the results flipped. Nearly 70 percent of respondents were not comfortable with smoking in public.
The city is required to have amendments in place for Proposition 64 by the fall, or Atascadero will be subject to state marijuana regulations rather than local.
Councilmember Brian Sturtevant expressed interest in modifying mobile delivery services for marijuana instead of allowing retail dispensaries in the city.
“How do we [accommodate] those who want to have that in their life and those who don’t? We need to have ways that if you want it, you can grow it or have it delivered. We don’t need a brick-and-mortar. It has nothing to do with legitimizing it,” Sturtevant said.
Moving forward, City Council and staff are expecting to continue the conversation with additional public meetings. A Planning Commission discussion on the issue is anticipated for August in preparation for the fall deadline.
“We’re not making final decisions tonight,” said Mayor Tom O’Malley. “Our City Council has taken the approach that we have an issue that’s controversial. It’s new; we want to make sure everyone has input.”