Santa Barbara may limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries to five, following an agreement between city council members at this week’s meeting.
The city ordinance committee decided on specific wording for a marijuana regulation bill, including provisions to allow facility inspections and require that vendors sell only to qualified patients. The decision brings the city a step closer to voting on a full cannabis regulation bill, which it has debated in recent months.
City attorney Stephen Wiley spoke during the meeting, saying dispensaries should be called a “nonprofit collective” in the bill.
“One of the main reasons the city becomes involved … is when marijuana is sold as a collective. It is not through a private transaction in someone’s home, but at … a storefront collective dispensary. That is the main change in this new draft,” Wiley said. “Following these new terms, we can begin to assume certain rules that the city can use to determine the collectives are acting within accordance of state law.”
The committee also reached a consensus on other issues, including a provision that the city would require marijuana sold in dispensaries to be grown in Ventura, Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo counties. In addition, city staff would have access to collective members.
Although the committee is much closer to making a final decision, several issues are yet to be settled. The council will debate whether to limit marijuana sales to locals only and if hours of operation should be restricted.
At the meeting, Santa Barbara resident Denise Fellows said hours of operation could affect local youths.
“We have too many high schoolers out there, during lunch and after school hours purchasing medical marijuana,” Fellows said.