A deadline to register marijuana cultivation sites throughout San Luis Obispo county triggered a rash of last minute applicants. While hundreds scrambled to meet the deadline, hundreds more didn’t come forward.
Two weeks before the November 18th deadline, there was some reluctance from growers with only around 40 applying. Fast forward to the final few days and that number exploded to more than 400.
"Yeah, it was literally a last minute rush," said Art Trinidade, Code Enforcement Officer for San Luis Obispo County.
Nearly 80 percent at 331 sites are in District 5, which includes California Valley, Pozo and Santa Margarita. The others are as follows:
District 1: 29 Cultivation sites registered
District 2: 12 Cultivation sites registered
District 3: 7 Cultivation sites registered
District 4: 38 Cultivation sites registered
Now code enforcement officers are busy with sheriff deputies inspecting those sites.
"It’s very time consuming, so we have approximately 100 that we’ve looked at so far. We hope to have them all done by the end of this year," said Trinidade.
Also on the county’s radar: They estimate there are more than 500 grows that decided to skip that mandatory deadline.
"They have no more opportunity to work with us," Trinidade said.
Meaning, those now illegal grows will have to decide whether to leave town to a county that will take them, or stay and risk fines and penalties.
"People think those civil penalties are a slap on the risk, but those can run to tens of thousands of dollars," Trinidade said.
Once all inspections are done by the new year, cracking down on illegal grows begins.
"There’s no point in starting enforcement until we make sure we know which ones are registered and which ones are illegal," Trinidade said.
For the newly registered, county inspectors will be placing an emphasis ensuring no environmentally harmful pesticides and herbicides are being used on each site.
For recreational marijuana grows now legal under Proposition 64, people are allowed to grow up to six plants, per home. It must be grown indoors, or on your property in a locked space that cannot be visible by the public.