After months of anticipation, California voters passed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), opening the doors to a commercial cannabis industry in SLO County and across the state.
Under the legislation, adults 21 and older can possess, transport, purchase, and use up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes and grow as many as six plants. The state has until Jan. 1, 2018, to start issuing business licenses for marijuana dispensaries and sets a 15 percent retail tax.
“I was expecting it to pass,” said Aaron Wright of Dominatrix Genetics, a medical marijuana business in SLO County.
Existing marijuana cultivators generally feel lukewarm about the legislation. There are a number of concerns about the law’s implementation, how that will impact the current medical marijuana industry, and how localities will choose to regulate it.
“Kind of like the president, this is what we got now and what we have to work with it,” Wright said.
Proposition 64 leaves a fair amount of room for counties and cities to restrict recreational marijuana activity—and local jurisdictions have definitely been gearing up.
Paso Robles passed a ban on all marijuana dispensaries and recreational marijuana deliveries within city limits in October. On the other end of the spectrum, Grover Beach is welcoming the new industry. Grover Beach voters overwhelming approved a local sales tax on both medical and non-medical marijuana on Election Day.
SLO County recently passed an urgency ordinance that largely bans cultivation, but is developing a permanent ordinance that could look very different.
“We’re working directly with them to develop a legal cannabis industry for SLO County,” Wright told New Times. “That’s the most exciting part of this.”
SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson weighed in on the proposition’s passage in an emailed statement to New Times.
“The Sheriff’s Office recognizes the will of the voter,” Parkinson’s statement reads. “My job as sheriff of SLO County is to ensure the successful implementation of the law while balancing the safety of our community.”