Thursday, April 19 , 2018, 3:13 pm | Fair and Breezy 68º


Local News

Santa Barbara County Adopts Permanent Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Board of Supervisors, opting against an ordinance allowing up to seven storefronts, instead follows in the footsteps of many local cities, including Goleta

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted swiftly Tuesday afternoon to ban medical marijuana storefront dispensaries, in strong contrast to the City of Santa Barbara’s arduous process to approve an ordinance.

The Montecito and county planning commissions had approved guidelines for an ordinance — that would allow up to seven storefronts throughout the county — but the supervisors asked for a ban instead.

In the 4-1 vote, Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr opposed the ban and said the county isn’t in the habit of banning a land use that appears to be legal in the state.

In support of the ban, Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf noted that California’s U.S. attorneys have recently carried out a crackdown on marijuana operations and sent letters to 38 marijuana dispensaries warning them they are violating federal law. The three counties — Orange, Riverside and Inland Empire — asked the federal government for assistance eliminating commercial dispensaries, according to a news release.

The county’s permanent ban replaces a soon-to-expire temporary one and joins bans by many cities within the county, including Guadalupe, Solvang, Buellton, Goleta, Carpinteria and Lompoc, according to county documents.

Just one person spoke at Tuesday’s meeting against the ban. Dee Wingo, who wore a “I am not a criminal” T-shirt and uses medicinal marijuana for depression, said prohibiting collective storefronts would encourage more unregulated collective cultivation and “underground” patient-to-patient transactions.

The cities of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Ventura, and San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties have created ordinances to allow and regulate the storefront dispensaries.

Santa Barbara’s current, revised ordinance took a failed voter initiative to ban them and more than a year of public meetings to get passed. It includes stringent rules for the storefronts’ locations and operations so they adhere to state laws by being nonprofit and only serving qualified patients.

There are four permitted dispensaries in the city, including three that were permitted under the original ordinance.

There were four known dispensaries in the county as of January 2010, two of which are being investigated for zoning enforcement and one that closed because of a criminal investigation. The Green Room, a Summerland dispensary, is still open and operating.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >