Monday, November 18, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 37
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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 14th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 26 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 26

Dispensary applicants in Solvang have one building to choose from

By WILLIAM D'URSO

Solvang dipped a toe into the marijuana industry last year when the City Council voted to welcome in medical dispensaries.

The catch, Mayor Ryan Toussaint said, is that the city ordinance relegates potential dispensaries to just one area called the “Allowable Zone” and there’s only one building in the location that’s willing to host a dispensary.

Three dispensary applications have been turned down so far—two of which were denied early in the process because they didn’t have the right paperwork. Those applications were missing a Letter of Authorization, which applicants have to acquire from the property owner.

One applicant for a medical dispensary license, Fristaden Wellness, is fighting back with the help of Beverly Hills law firm Margolin & Lawrence.

“It became apparent that the single landowner had complete veto power over applicants, giving unequal opportunity to the dispensary applicants,” the firm said in an Aug. 26 news release. “We understand that the monopoly on land use was not done with intention to make the rules unfair, however the reality remains that incorrect information has led to a situation that is not in the community’s best interest.” 

The firm appealed the city’s denial of Fristaden’s application in April, asking the city to push the landowner authorization to later in the application process. The firm also requested that the city institute a lottery system where all of the applicants who had completed the necessary forms would be considered.

The council agreed to both, but there still remains only one landlord willing to host a medical marijuana dispensary. 

“Margolin & Lawrence’s argument on behalf of Fristaden maintains that Solvang’s ordinance restricts the Allowable Zone to a single property, inadvertently creating a monopoly over the city regulatory permitting process for establishing a medical dispensary within the city,” the firm said.

Toussaint said there hasn’t been interest in recreational marijuana, but he does see further conversations about altering the city’s ordinance on medical dispensaries.

The firm had planned to attend the City Council meeting Aug 26. but Toussaint said it asked to table the appeal discussion.

“I think you’ll see that any lawyer can argue either side,” Toussaint said. “So it’s up to council to decide what they want.”

—William D’Urso




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