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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 3rd, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 16, Issue 39

Santa Maria considers medical marijuana cultivation ordinance

By CAMILLIA LANHAM

Legislation signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in October is causing city and county governments throughout the state to reconsider their medical marijuana ordinances.

Santa Maria joins Arroyo Grande and the city of Santa Barbara in discussing changes to current ordinances as well as the potential banning of commercial and/or private cultivation of medical marijuana. On Dec. 1, the Santa Maria City Council considered two things: changing the municipal code that already bans medical marijuana dispensaries, "whether fixed or mobile," from operating in the city to include a ban on "deliveries," as well as what, if any, sorts of cultivation to ban.

UPDATE: On Dec. 1, the Santa Maria City Council voted 5-0 to ban any type of medical marijuana dispensary and the personal and commercial cultivation of medical marijuana within city limits, although licensed mobile dispensaries are allowed to operate within the city.

The Arroyo Grande Planning Commission also discussed banning cultivation of medical marijuana at its Dec. 1 meeting. In November, the Santa Barbara City Council opted to regulate cultivation rather than prohibit it.

Santa Maria Assistant City Attorney Kristine Mollenkopf told the Sun the Medical Marijuana Regulatory and Safety Act—a package of three bills: AB 266, AB 243, and SB 643—is the first time that the state has come forward with regulations to govern the medical marijuana industry in California since the law was passed legalizing it in 1996.

"[It] provides that independent cities, counties can regulate on their own," she said. "But you've got to get it done before March 1 or the [state] statutes will control."

The new regulations require ordinances to specifically use the term "deliveries" in order to ban mobile dispensaries (which deliver medical marijuana to patients' doors). The City Council looked at two options for governing cultivation in Santa Maria—whether to ban all cultivation of marijuana in the city or only ban commercial cultivation, and regulate private cultivation of marijuana for individuals with a certified medical reason.

Mollenkopf said the proposal from the city attorney's office is in line with City Council choices in the past to ban medical marijuana dispensaries "whether fixed or mobile," ban the sale of spice (synthetic marijuana), and restrict smoking and vaping.

"The City Council has been very progressive when it comes to substances," she said.

The council didn't make a decision on the proposal before the Sun went to press on Dec. 1, but a second reading of the ordinance is set for the Dec. 15 meeting. Mollenkopf said she couldn't venture a guess as to how the council would vote, but said there was a public hearing with the city's Planning Commission on Nov. 18.

"No one appeared to speak in favor or against the proposed ordinance," she said.










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