Arroyo Grande council votes to reverse medical marijuana ban
June 16, 2016
Less than five months after the Arroyo Grande City Council adopted an ordinance banning medical marijuana cultivation and deliveries, council members voted to allow patients to grow cannabis in the city.
Faced with a new state law, cities and counties in California had until March to adopt ordinances relating to marijuana sales and cultivation or cede control of the matter to state officials. Several cities in the county rushed to pass ordinances. Arroyo Grande adopted its marijuana cultivation ban in January.
During the January meeting, Council Member Kristen Barneich said patients could drive to a parking lot in Pismo Beach to get deliveries. A comment later condemned by the audience.
Then in February, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill repealing the state deadline. Some cities have since initiated the process of repealing their ordinances.
On Tuesday, the Arroyo Grande council voted in favor of an ordinance that will allow limited cultivation of marijuana. Patients will only be allowed to grow plants in detached single-family homes. Additionally, cultivation in kitchens, bathrooms, garages and occupied bedrooms will be prohibited.
The ordinance also permits medical marijuana deliveries. City officials will issue marijuana delivery permits to up to three mobile dispensaries.
Delivery service drivers must be at least 21 years old, and they will be subject to background checks by Arroyo Grande police. Drivers can only deliver medical marijuana to patients’ homes.
City officials will also oversee the mobile dispensaries’ safety procedures, record-keeping, product quality and insurance.
Arroyo Grande banned both mobile and brick-and-mortar dispensaries in 2008. On Tuesday, multiple council members said they would consider lifting the ban on brick-and-mortar dispensaries. Councilman Tim Brown said he wants to wait until the conclusion of the November election to see if California voters legalize recreational marijuana.
Council members changed their mind on medical marijuana prohibition, in part, due to city residents speaking out against the recently adopted ban. Several supporters of medical marijuana spoke during a March council meeting. One of the speakers was Arroyo Grande resident Devin Ward, an ALS patient.
On Tuesday , former Arroyo Grande councilwoman and county supervisor Caren Ray spoke in favor of reversing the bans. Ray was a member of the council when it banned mobile dispensaries. She said Tuesday that vote was a mistake and society has caught up with that point.
A second reading of the new ordinance will occur on June 28. If the council adopts the ordinance, the new regulations will take affect 30 days later.