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Pismo Beach revives pot ban

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After a two-month long back and fourth, the Pismo Beach City Council finally settled on a decision to prohibit large swaths of commercial activity relating marijuana.

During a late night meeting Jan. 17, the council voted 4-1 to pass an ordinance banning outdoor cultivation, manufacturing, laboratory testing, labeling, storing, and wholesale distribution or retail of cannabis. The language of the ban is similar to an urgency ordinance the council approved in November 2016—shortly after California voters approved Proposition 64, a ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana in the state. Councilmember Erik Howell was the lone vote against the ordinance. 

“This would be a proactive measure,” Pismo Beach City Attorney Dave Fleishman told member of the council. 

While Proposition 64 legalizes the possession, use, and sale of recreational marijuana, the law also allows local governments to ban recreational businesses such as dispensaries entirely and “reasonably” regulate cultivation. Fleishman said the ordinance would still allow personal indoor cultivation of both medical and recreational marijuana under the auspices of Proposition 64 and the state’s other laws regarding the cultivation of medical marijuana. The ordinance does not prohibit marijuana delivery in Pismo Beach. 

Since the passage of Proposition 64, the council has grappled with figuring out just how respond to the new law. While it passed a 45-day urgency ordinance Nov. 15, an attempt to extend the ban for several additional months failed at a Dec. 20 meeting.

While the ordinance alleviates concerns about outdoor marijuana grows in Pismo Beach, it doesn’t appear to be a major issue for the city’s police force. Pismo Beach Police Chief Jake Miller told New Times that he didn’t think there was much room in the city for large commercial grow operations.

“We don’t have a lot of open space left,” Miller said. “With large open cultivations, we don’t really have the availability.” 

Even with the passage of Proposition 64, Miller said he hadn’t seen any large increases in marijuana-related enforcement activity.

“Everybody seems to be following the laws and guidelines,” he said. 

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