Supes Ban Marijuana Shops

Vote to Make Emergency Moratorium a Permanent Part of County Code

Delivering on what seemed to be a forgone conclusion since they last deliberated on the subject, the Santa Barbara County Supervisors voted this week to unconditionally ban medical marijuana storefront-style dispensaries in the county. With a 4-1 vote on Tuesday afternoon, the supervisors (with the 3rd District’s Doreen Farr dissenting) voted to make their two-year-old — and soon to expire — emergency moratorium on cannabis clubs a permanent part of county code. Admitting that the ban was “not a perfect solution”, 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolfe rationalized her vote of support by explaining, “I think the fact of the matter is, that folks who need medical marijuana can still obtain it.”

The board’s vote comes after several months of work by the County’s Planning and Development staff to develop an ordinance that aimed to allow a small number of cannabis clubs in the county in carefully selected locations. (The plan was such that only seven locations could even be considered for a potential dispensary.) Earlier this month, despite the fact that the initially proposed ordinance had widespread Planning Commission and public support, the supervisors sent staffers back to the drawing board and demanded ordinance language that outright banned dispensaries. Farr, who supported the original ordinance, defended her stance on the subject Tuesday by saying, “I think this is a land use issue. … And as far as I know, the county has never banned a specific land use that appears to be legal in the state. I hope this is not the start of a slippery slope.”

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