SLO County and Cannabis
SLO has long set a gold standard for the rest country in its pro-health, pro-family, pro-environment stances and high quality of life. For example, we were the first to take on Big Tobacco with our public health and nuisance bans on indoor/outdoor smoking.
Cannabis and marijuana cultivation and production is far worse in terms of public health, public safety, environment and quality of life. Strangely our county government has created and endorsed a cannabis land use policy that lets marijuana farms into our neighborhoods.
This ordinance was made by a small number of people for the benefit of even fewer, and at the expense of all. Most counties in California said NO to cannabis production, and it was not in San Luis Obispo's character to say yes.
Summary of Title 22 and the Cannabis Land Use Ordinance
(copied from SLO County Website)
(Section 22.40.050 / Section 23.08.424)
Where Allowed: Agriculture, Rural Lands, Residential Rural (indoor), Industrial (indoor)
Minimum Site Area: Agriculture – 10 acres; Rural Lands – 50 acres; Residential Rural - 20 acres; no minimum in Industrial
Permit Required: Minor Use Permit
Permit Limit: 141 non-exempt operations. Only previously registered co-op/collectives may apply during the first year.
Permit Expiration: 5 years (renewal allowed before expiration)
Setbacks: Indoor – As required by existing ordinance Sections 22.30.310/23.08.041 & 23.04.100; Outdoor – 300 feet; 1,000 feet from schools, etc.
Click here to link to the actual county ordinance for Title 22 (inland) and Title 23 (coastal)
The setback and proximity rules are completely insufficient.
A 300 ft. setback is completely arbitrary and doesn't reflect the reality that with outdoor cultivation, marijuana produces an awful stench in addition to imposing many other proximal risks. Thousands of feet or even a mile or two of setback couldn't eliminate this problem!
There is a prohibition to cultivate cannabis at locations within 1000 ft. (property line to property line) of a sensitive use facility (schools, addiction treatment facilities, etc.). Children and addicts living in their homes are out of luck (where they likely spend most of their time). This is a HUGE problem and inconsistency.
Outdoor pot growing is permissible in agricultural rural-residential, rural lands and industrial zones (only indoor cultivation in industrial zones). If you or friends live in these zones, tough.
The county is currently allowing up to 141 cultivation operations in our backyards. If you think that's not much, let's do some back-of-the-napkin math....
Let's say on average 1.5 acres per cultivation site and assume that all of the marijuana is made into joints (which it's not):
141 sites x 1.5 acres
3,500 plants per acre
1,000 joints per plant
= ~ 740 Million joints !!
A heavy marijuana user can smoke 3 joints a day, (~ 20mg of THC per joint), so San Luis Obispo could theoretically provide 600,000 to 700,000 heavy pot users their annual supply!
That's every man, woman and child in San Luis Obispo county 2 1/2 times over using heavy marijuana. If a pot grower planted all three permissible acres, the number goes up to 1.5 Billion joints.
A single 3 acre pot farm next door can produce ~10 Million joints!!!