After a proposed ban on mobile medical marijuana dispensaries was left dead in the water following a 2-2 deadlock vote at the July 15 Paso Robles City Council meeting, the council is set to revisit the issue Aug. 5.
The proposed urgency ordinance to ban mobile medical marijuana delivery services from operating within the city was initially pitched by staff as a matter of “housekeeping,” since the city has an existing ban on brick-and-mortar dispensaries, but not their mobile counterparts. All cities in San Luis Obispo County have banned brick-and-mortar dispensaries, and none have been approved so far by the County Board of Supervisors to operate in the unincorporated areas, leaving mobile dispensaries as the sole source of medical marijuana for patients with prescriptions written under the Compassionate Care Act.
At the July 15 meeting, Paso Robles Police Lt. Ty Lewis told the council that the ban would help curtail drug-related crime in the city. His comment sparked a discussion of whether the above-ground nature of mobile dispensaries attracts crime or gives an alternative to more shady methods of procuring marijuana.
A long line of Paso Robles residents participated in public comment, with all but one urging the council to reject the proposed ban. Many of those who spoke gave impassioned accounts of how they depend on mobile dispensaries, which, to them, have become the sole method for safe access locally that’s in accordance with state law.
The issue arose after a North County-based mobile dispensary applied for a business license within the city. The four city councilmembers present at the July 15 meeting split on the issue. Since no definitive action was taken then, staffers are asking for a more clear direction in order to proceed with processing the business license.
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay