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City Council Approves Ordinance Related to Cannabis Land Use and Public Health/Safety

Post Date:05/03/2018 5:15 PM

The San Luis Obispo City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance to protect public health, safety, and welfare – and support the local cannabis economy – by permitting and regulating a wide range of cannabis uses. 

Following voter approval of Proposition 64 (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act) during the November 2016 election, City staff engaged with the community and Planning Commission to develop an ordinance related to land use standards for cannabis activities. The ordinance requires a permitted business operator and a physical location zoned for such uses in order for cannabis businesses to legally operate. The ordinance also includes public health and safety regulations related to the personal cultivation and use of cannabis and the conduct of cannabis business operations in the City.

The ordinance:

  • Allows for access to medical and recreational marijuana in the City, with storefront and delivery options
  • Prohibits events and onsite consumption
  • Establishes a two-step process requiring prospective business operators to be certified and ranked prior to applying for a land use permit
  • Includes requirements for energy and water efficiency, and limits the total amount of cultivation to ensure consistency with City climate action goals
  • Limits manufacturing uses to non-volatile processes only
  • Limits cultivation to indoors only, and total City-wide amount of cultivation allowed to 70,000 square feet of total canopy coverage within indoor areas, cumulatively (includes total canopy of either horizontal or vertical growing situations)
  • Provides for the creation of overlay zones where cannabis business activity may be permitted, and buffers within those overlay zones for cannabis retail stores of 300 feet from residential zones, and 1,000 feet from schools and parks
  • Requires retail storefronts to be located at least 1,000 feet apart 

Council directed City staff to return with additional implementation measures, including zoning map amendments for the cannabis overlay zones, criteria for the ranking of cannabis business operator applications and a fee schedule for applications and annual licenses. 

Prior to commercial cannabis activities commencing in San Luis Obispo, the City needs to establish fees and licenses that allow it to recover 100 percent of the allowable costs associated with regulation. The ordinance will require voter approval of a new tax on cannabis business activity for the land use regulations to take effect. City staff will return to Council with additional information related to a proposed cannabis tax revenue measure at their next meeting on May 15, 2018.

CONTACT: Michael Codron, Community Development Director; (805) 781-7187

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