Central California

Morro Bay may approve medical marijuana, but recreational OK unlikely

Morro Bay could be home to up to two brick-and-mortar medical marijuana dispensaries soon, but residents hoping for recreational store fronts in the coastal community likely shouldn’t hold their breath.

Those were among the findings of a city council subcommittee tasked with making recommendations for future regulations based on input from city officials and residents. The city council will discuss the recommendations in response to the November passage of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana use for adults, Tuesday night.

On the agenda will be the findings of the subcommittee, which includes council members Robert ‘Red’ Davis and Marlys McPherson, to allow no more than two fixed location medical dispensaries, vetted through a selection process, but completely ban dispensaries for recreational marijuana. The city is also recommended to regulate the packaging and appearance of edible marijuana products for sale to eliminate any confusion about the nature of the product.

The subcommittee also recommends banning outdoor commercial cultivation and all commercial manufacturing and testing for both medical and recreational marijuana.

The council will also mull a recommendation to allow medical marijuana delivery services to operate in the city after passing permitting requirements and submitting proof of association with with a licensed dispensary in or outside of Morro Bay.

Community members provided input at a public workshop in March and during a community forum in June, during which about 75 people expressed their views to the council, according to a staff report.

Morro Bay estuary. (Karen D’Souza/The Cannifornian)

On Tuesday, the council can develop an ordinance to implement regulations based on those recommendations or establish a moratorium to postpone implementation of an ordinance until after Jan. 1, 2018, when the state will begin issuing licenses for commercial marijuana operations.

The city is planning to host another public workshop on the issue by mid-September, and the council is shooting for having a first reading of a draft ordinance by early October.

If an ordinance is not complete by Oct. 24, city staff recommends moving forward an urgency ordinance to prohibit the establishment of any marijuana businesses in the city, which could be put in place for up to 24 months, according to the staff report.

The city has not had a marijuana dispensary since former San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Pat Hedges staged a multi-agency raid on operator Charles Lynch’s Compassionate Caregivers storefront in 2007.

To subscribe to The Cannifornian’s email newsletter, click here.