Opinion » Shredder

Reefer madness

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OMG! You guys! You guys! Guess what?

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Pot is legal in the state of California! And not just medical pot either, recreational, too!

Well, this piece of office machinery was bound and determined to get my shiny ass in line at the first dispensary to open its doors in San Luis Obispo County. I was going to shred me some dank nugs of whatever cannabis hybrid that fine establishment recommended. But guess what? I'm going to have to wait a long time for that to happen. Like, a looooong time.

As the San Luis Obispo Tribune pointed out (yes, even they are now reporting on marijuana like the cool kids over here at New Times have been doing for years), the closest brick-and-mortar dispensary is more than 100 miles away ... in another county. Over here in SLOW County, at the moment, anyone who's growing, selling, or delivering cannabis—whether it's medical or recreational—is basically not operating within the bounds of the law.

Oh, except for one business in one city, Elite Care California in Arroyo Grande. But, and this is a big-ass butt, that delivery service can only bring you packages of pot or pot-related products if you have a medical marijuana card. And that particular arrangement only happened in the last few months.

Because for some unknown reason—I mean, I actually know the reason: local politicians, Republicans, and law enforcement officials are all afraid of "reefer madness"—the governing bodies in this county sat on their hands for the last 20 years, and didn't do one damn thing about regulating medical marijuana until (ding, ding, ding) California voters decided to legalize recreational cannabis as well. So even though two decades have passed where SLOW County had the potential to massage and stumble through regulating medical marijuana, it is only now, in the last year, that it has attempted to move the bar one iota on crafting regulations.

And even now, they insist on doing it SLOWLY, because it's, like, you know, a new industry, man. Never mind that things have been moving in that direction for decades, literally, and never mind that an industry has pushed its way into the county at an extremely slow pace over the last several years. It's almost as if regulators just woke up on Jan. 1, 2017, and said "Uh oh, we actually have to do something about this now."

Duh guys. One year later, it's legal. Not a surprise, really, at least not to the folks who've invested their livelihoods into the burgeoning potential of a now legal industry—the same folks who've been pushing and prodding the members of the SLOW County Board of Supervisors to actually understand what's needed instead of proceeding at their pace of ideological enlightenment.

Let's take the fact that hundreds of cultivators—forget all the other parts of the industry, according to 1st District Supervisor John "That's All That's Needed Right Now" Peschong—who have invested in land (paying property taxes to the county), in registrations (that were valid until the end of 2017), in employees, in infrastructure, and in time spent at government meetings are now essentially operating illegally because the county couldn't get its shit together enough to realize that it might need to issue local permits before Jan. 1, 2018, so growers could apply for their state licenses (which is what's really needed to be considered a legit cannabis operation).

Let's take the fact that the only delivery services—yes those are needed too, because let's face it, we aren't allowing brick-and-mortar—that are allowed to operate within the county are only legal if they're based in another county! So all that money we could be sweeping off the bottom in taxes basically goes to support a different area's residents. Awesome!

I guess the idea of parking lot hand-offs magically going away when pot became legalized isn't really going to happen. Because in SLOW County, our Board of Supervisors likes to keep things status quo—you know, like they did with the inclusionary housing ordinance in December. Lots of talking about doing things and why they're important to do right, but never actually doing anything useful.

Because instead of focusing on how to regulate an industry to the benefit of each and every one of the taxpayers, the industry, and the county, this county spent money on lawsuits. They sued cultivators—some of which could argue (Megan's Organic Market, good for you!) that they were operating within the legal parameters set out by the county! People like Sheriff Ian Parkinson, 2nd District Supervisor Debbie Arnold, 4th District Supervisor Lynn Compton, Paso City Council members, and Atascadero City Council members were all so worried about how things could go oh so wrong, that it was all they focused on.

Meanwhile, cities such as San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay are trying to figure out how to "do it all legal" like Bugsy Segal, but they waited until the last minute to make their moves, so nobody's getting stoned just yet.

Freakin' procrastinators! It's like they're a bunch of journalists or something, only the deadline was Jan. 1, so they obviously didn't have the proper training that I did in doing things at the last minute and turning them in before deadline!

The whole thing stinks like a teenager's first 4:20 experience. It's amateur hour. Δ

The Shredder's pissed he can't find a doobie within walking distance. Send comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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