Two medical marijuana storefront dispensaries in Santa Barbara will be given until June 2014 to close or get new permits under a change approved Tuesday by the City Council.
The change pushes the city’s number of allowed permitted dispensaries to four, up from three.
Councilman Randy Rowse, who was not a member when the ordinance was adopted, said he was “disappointed we’re in this business in the first place.”
The Green Well and Green Light storefront dispensaries were approved in 2008 but were invalidated by the updated June 2010 ordinance because of their proximity to schools or parks. Given just 180 days to close after the new ordinance was adopted, they sued the city. The Green Well was granted a preliminary injunction from a judge that said the establishment deserved a full trial before being forced to close and that the six-month deadline was a violation of due process.
In light of the decision, city attorney Steve Wiley said Tuesday it appears the 180-day period “might be unconstitutional,” so the deadline will be extended.
He said both dispensaries still must comply with the new ordinance’s operational requirements — including hours of operation, where marijuana can be cultivated and who can be a member of the collective dispensary.
Since dispensaries began popping up all over California around 2008, many cities have either banned them or tried to regulate them, according to Wiley. He said an ordinance doesn’t protect operations that aren’t complying with state law, and the Santa Barbara City Attorney’s Office has pursued civil actions against several of them — and closed at least two — while the Police Department has prosecuted numerous owners and employees of city dispensaries.
Also on Tuesday, the City Council approved $300,000 for the Nov. 8 vote-by-mail municipal election, though there’s still a chance it will be consolidated into a statewide special election.
It also approved an additional $1.27 million for the Santa Barbara Airport terminal project because of requested changes and mandates by airlines and the Transportation Security Administration, respectively, that came in after the bids were received, according to airport Director Karen Ramsdell.
She said that even with the increase, the project has come in $8 million under budget because of a favorable bidding environment.