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Dispensary proposal goes to supes

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Advocates of medical marijuana access in San Luis Obispo County are hoping the third time’s the charm.

For the third time in as many years, the application for a proposed medical marijuana collective will go before the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors after passing muster at the Planning Commission. County supervisors are scheduled to hear the proposal at their March 6 meeting.

According to the minor use application, a 5,500-square-foot facility could soon be located in an industrial area on the 1400 block of South Fourth Street in northern Oceano.

County planning commissioners approved the project 4-1—with commissioner Tim Murphy dissenting—on Nov. 3, 2011, with a unique condition that the facility be reviewed in two years.

Oceano resident and former Community Services District director Barbara Mann appealed the commission’s decision to the Board of Supervisors. Mann cited nearby residences and safety concerns as her reasons for the appeal.

Applicant Tammy Murray, a Grover Beach resident, has owned and operated the Compassionate Cannabis Information Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Goshen, without incident since 2008.

The hearing is expected to bring the usual smattering of fearful residents and cautionary Sheriff’s deputies to warn the board to deny the project. But Murray is encouraging local supporters—especially Oceano residents—to speak out, as well.

“Providing a safe place to obtain medicinal marijuana for patients struggling with standard medications is not only the right thing to do for our citizens, it is lawful for local and state governments,” Murray said. “[We’re] only focusing on helping those with a medical need.”

SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson told New Times he doesn’t have a problem with medical marijuana collectives, but that the current proposal in Oceano is in a bad location. He questions whether it’s safe to locate the collective there.

“My focus is simply, ‘Does it belong where it’s proposed?’” Parkinson said. He added that the proposed location has residences around it and noted there have been two medical-marijuana-related home invasion robbery attempts in as many years.

“I wouldn’t want [the collective] there myself if I lived there,” he said.

County supervisors have shot down applications for two other medical marijuana dispensaries—in Nipomo and Templeton, respectively—over the past three years. Despite that history, Murray said she remains excited and optimistic. ∆

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