Cannabis and Contention with the County

The Templeton Area Advisory Group voiced its frustration with the San Luis Obispo County Planning Department as it pertained to cannabis business development for the Templeton Area. In a marathon session in front of a packed room, council members took turns describing various aspects of their displeasure to the department’s representative and District Supervisor Debbie Arnold.

“For two straight years, while all these cannabis ordinances were being formed up,” delegate Murray Powell said, “we never heard one single word about the process here and it’s time for the planning department to open up and start reaching out to the public to let us know what’s going on.”

Vice Chair Larry Fluer flatly stated that the process was broken, citing the TAAG’s communication with the SLO County Supervisors. He said that the standard five days notification of agenda items relating to cannabis and changes to ordinances is not enough time for TAAG to gather response from the public let alone establish the committee’s own stance.

“We get 180 seconds at the microphone — that’s it! Anybody in this room gets 180 seconds — that’s it!” said a visibly irritated Fluer, referring to time allotted from public comment during County meetings. “You don’t get a rebuttal. You get nothing… it’s a broken process.”

Powell told Arnold that the County continues to approve cannabis operations before all the information can be gathered or even when they are in direct violation of ordinances.

“When does this come to a halt until the County can actually get a handle on what the hell is going on around here?” Powell asked Arnold, drawing scattered applause from
the crowd.

In response, Arnold said that she wants to see communication improve between the public and the County and is actively gathering email addresses from concerned citizens to help keep them informed. She explained that the board purposely “held on” to discretionary power which gives them the authority not to approve business if it does not fit in the community where it will operate. She agreed with the board that the public needs more lead time to afford them an opportunity to respond to upcoming projects.

Susan Mayor from the SLO Cannabis Watch Group, a local organization formed to oppose “big cannabis” said, “I think…having so many appeals on these permits [and] applications is an indication that something
isn’t working.”