Recreational marijuana stores may soon be making an appearance in San Luis Obispo.
During a city council meeting Feb. 20, Community Development Director Michael Codron presented a new cannabis regulation law that would allow three marijuana dispensaries to be built in San Luis Obispo.
Although this meeting was only meant to provide information and suggestions about these regulations, city staff members will return to council May 1 with improved ordinances for a final vote.
Passing these new regulations would make San Luis Obispo the first city in the county to allow recreational dispensaries. Right now, Grover Beach and Morro Bay only allow medical marijuana dispensaries where all products are for medicinal use only. Pismo Beach also allows marijuana delivery, but only from outside the city limits.
The application process for cultivators requires they go through a third party review. After all of the criteria is met and background checks are performed, the vendor can then apply for a Cannabis Activity Permit.
To be approved as a vendor, cultivators must submit energy efficient plans with their application. The standard for approval is to achieve zero net energy compliance by 2020.
Codron said 70,000 square feet of canopy results in 13 acre feet of water usage per year, according to Cal Cannabis. Codron compares this to the four laundromats in the city of San Luis Obispo that yield 12 acre feet of water per year. In order to ensure that the city can withstand this kind of energy usage, dispensaries are expected to make efficient adjustments within the next two years.
However, energy efficiency is not the only concern that comes with dispensaries. Councilmembers expressed concern for dispensaries being too close to schools, residency and downtown.
Codron said that these buffers have been taken into great consideration. He said that there will be at least 1,000 feet between any two dispensaries, 200 feet between any dispensary and a residential area and 600 feet between any dispensary and a school.
While the state recommended residential buffer is 300 feet, Codron said that this is “too limiting” based on the size and land-usage of the city.
Mayor Heidi Harmon did not disclose her stance on the issue. She did, however, bring to light that “more storefronts equals more usage equals potentially more challenges” during the council meeting.