Stop the Ban and Restrictions of Legal Cannabis in SLO County
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The current attempt by the SLO County Board of Supervisors (BOS) to limit, restrict and ban the number of legal cannabis farms, applications for permits and retail stores in San Luis Obispo County, is a direct attempt to force legal cannabis farming and sales from the County. If these unnecessary & punitive restrictions are enacted, significant economic loss will result. On behalf of legitimate business owners and patients eager for the safe production and distribution of quality products in our community, The San Luis Obispo County Cannabis Business Association (SLOCCBA) urges BOS to:
1. Allow existing Approved Registered Cannabis Cultivation Operations to continue to operate without interruption and continue to work with existing registrants to get them compliant with state regulations as soon as possible.
2. Trust a fair discretionary review process to function as intended by implementing obtainable requirements not unlike other seasonal agribusiness operations.
3. Allow open enrollment period to accept applications for existing as well as new license types including cultivation.
4. Allow a reasonable number of accessible brick and mortar storefronts for retail sales of medical and recreational cannabis products.
The state of California has legalized the producing, processing and retail sales of medical and recreational marijuana throughout the state. The residents of SLO County overwhelmingly voted to legalize cannabis. Legal cannabis producers and processors in SLO County are creating jobs that fill a vital role by providing a new source of rapid job growth and economic activity within the community. Limiting cannabis farms within the county, and restricting the number of licenses would affect at least 400 producers and processors that have been operating in the County legally for many years. These draconian restrictions would also force hundreds of SLO County residents out of a job.
The restricting of when farmers, and potential farmers, of legal cannabis may apply for permits will have a significant negative impact on the SLO County economy as well as the State of California. Legal, professionally-managed SLO County farms supply products locally and export statewide. Banning or restricting this activity will negatively affect growers as well as a wide variety of businesses such as restaurants, hardware stores, grocery stores, garden supply stores, fast food restaurants, service stations, day care facilities, cinemas and any other places where farmers take their business. Proposed restrictions will create supply shortages which will surely encourage production by competing counties and unregulated, underground operations.
By forcing the SLO County farms to shut down, or delay their application for permits, you directly affect the statewide medical cannabis patients that rely on SLO County for their supply of California State approved legal medical and recreational cannabis. As a result, this ban would deny quality medical and recreational cannabis to thousands of veterans of our armed forces. The ban would also create a loss of many millions of dollars in tax revenue for SLO County.
Most of the legal farms that are operating throughout SLO County have met all the requirements set forth by the State of California, SLO County Commissioners and SLO County Planning Department. The farms have also made a sizeable monetary investment in their farming operations. The new ordinance should be enacted that allows existing farms to continue to produce due to the fact that they have followed all requirements in good faith and new applicants should be given the opportunity to apply as soon as the county ordinance takes effect. In addition to allowing existing farms to operate, the health of this industry in SLO County relies on fair regulation for new farms to get permits in the County.
Cannabis producers and processors should be given the same level of acceptance we have for other agricultural businesses when it comes to seasonal nuisances. Any restrictions that hinder a company’s ability to operate and expand with unobtainable regulations and administrative delays stifle growth of this LEGAL industry.
We are asking that all farmers and potential farmers be allowed to apply for their land use permits and business licenses without limiting the number of permits available or when they may apply. The free market should decide the number of farms needed and the Discretionary Review Process should be allowed to function as intended. Legal Retail Storefronts should be allowed as they are with Liquor, Tobacco, and Pharmacies. Regulated Retail Stores are the safest, easiest to regulate, and preferred method of purchasing cannabis products.
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