This report in the Santa Ynez Valley News about cannabis dispensary applicants for licensing says in a nutshell what the sector will have to compete with in the upcoming years to be accepted by communities through the state and especially in more rural areas
The newspaper writes
The Solvang City Council voted 3-2 at its Monday meeting to hear the appeals of cannabis dispensary applicants whose initial applications had been denied, address changing the city ordinance to move landowner authorization later in the approval process, and to adopt a lottery system in which applicants who follow all application requirements are ultimately selected.
Council members Karen Waite and Robert Clarke cast the dissenting votes.
Since the former city council adopted an ordinance last August permitting a single cannabis dispensary on the west end of Solvang’s commercial district, Solvang has received three applications. Two were turned down for failure to obtain property owner acknowledgement required by the municipal code. The third was disqualified after the application was found deficient in several areas, according to a staff report.
In March, the new city council directed staff to reprioritize and recommend changes in the application process to include consideration of other permitted zones to open more locations of dispensaries in the interest of developing a competitive market, and move the landowner authorization requirement to a later point in the application process “to avoid the perception that a single landowner has a veto power over applicants for dispensary permits,” the staff report stated.
Waite, who sat on the council throughout the initial ordinance adoption, was adamantly opposed to allowing dispensaries in additional zones.
“I’d like to stick to what we originally decided,” she said Monday. “I think that’s the right thing to do and I believe that a property owner has the right to sell to whoever they would like to sell to. You cannot force a property owner to put in a business if they don’t want to put it in. I think the C-3 zone is the only area what would be appropriate for this type of a business.”
Council members Clarke and Daniel Johnson took it further, stating they didn’t want dispensaries in the city at all.
“I think there’s a better area for it and that would be Lompoc,” Clarke said.
Clarke served on the planning commission when Solvang adopted the ordinance, and said the current location is the “only logical place.”
“If we have to have it, this is where it’s going to go,” Clarke said. “I never wanted it in this town. I still don’t want it whether it’s medical or recreational. I don’t like it here. This is not what Solvang is all about. But this is the people that we’ve elected in the State of California and there’s nothing we can do about that now, but whether it be housing or marijuana or whatever, we’re being forced to do lots of things by Sacramento.”
Johnson wondered aloud why Solvang continues discussing a cannabis dispensary at all now that Santa Barbara County has announced it will allow eight dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of the county.
“Why don’t we just ban the sale of marijuana completely from the city and let the retail spots open in the unincorporated areas which they’ll be able to do medical, retail, whatever they want to do outside of the city? Then we don’t have to deal with any of this and keep marijuana out of the City of Solvang,” Johnson said.
Waite said Johnson’s comments made sense, but she had “heard from residents of Solvang who really do benefit from medical use of marijuana and feel we should have a local clinic.”