More than 400 marijuana growers, the majority of whom are based in eastern San Luis Obispo County, have met a deadline to register their grows with county officials.
The recent passage of marijuana legalization initiative Prop. 64 grants individuals the freedom to grow up to six marijuana plants inside their homes. However, the county is allowed to ban all other forms of cultivation.
Prior to the passage of Prop. 64, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisor adopted an urgency ordinance banning new marijuana grows, but allowing existing pot farms to remain if they are registered.
The board of supervisors adopted the ordinance in September and extended it in October. The ordinance set a Nov. 18 deadline for growers to register with the county.
By Nov. 18, a total of 431 pot farmers registered their grows. Of that total, 278 registered their grows as being located in the California Valley and Carrizo Plains areas.
Another 91 growers are registered in North County, and 47 are registered in South County. Additionally, eight grows are registered along the North Coast and in the Estero Bay area; four are registered along the South Coast; and three are registered in the San Luis Obispo area.
County officials pushed for an ordinance prohibiting marijuana cultivation after pot growers rushed into the California Valley earlier this year. Sheriff Ian Parkinson, one of the leading proponents of a marijuana moratorium, said during the September board hearing that, at the time, there were more than 200 grows in the California Valley and that a number of the growers were affiliated with gangs.
Officials previously received numerous complaints about men with guns protecting California Valley pot farms, as well as about harmful chemicals being used at the grow sites.
During the September hearing, Supervisor Debbie Arnold proposed an ordinance that would have given growers until December to shut down their pot farms. But, the ordinance needed four votes to pass, and supervisors Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill objected to it.
The supervisors then agreed on the existing ordinance as a compromise. The ordinance passed on a 4-1 vote with Hill dissenting and saying drugs should not be criminalized.
County planning and building staff are now inspecting the 431 grows that were registered. Chief Code Enforcement Officer Art Trinidade said staffers are about halfway through the inspections and that the growers have been very cooperative so far, and they are working well within the ordinance.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Hundreds Of Marijuana Growers Register With SLO County
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