Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 2:07 am | Fair 58º


Local News

Lompoc’s Proposed Cannabis Rules Draw Criticism, Praise

The Lompoc City Council’s action this week on proposed cannabis regulations stirred up concerns regarding video surveillance and a limitation of four dispensaries, prompting a delay in approval. 

With multiple changes suggested to the 16-page ordinance, the council on Tuesday agreed to delay action until a future meeting so City Attorney Joe Pannone can revised the document.

A proposal to limit the number of dispensaries to four and requirements for proposed owners to present a lengthy list of information caused some council member to balk.

The proposed rules called for those seeking licenses to provide information about litigation they were involved in within the past five years, supply source details, and much more.

“I think there’s a level of overreach here,” Councilman Jim Mosby said. 

He noted other businesses starting up in Lompoc don’t have to provide the same details.

Speakers also cited problems with the proposed rules.

Santa Barbara resident Liz Rogan, a board member of the Cannabis Business Council of Santa Barbara County, commended the city’s progress, but said the live video feed would violate people’s civil rights. 

“One other thing I’d like to say here is please keep this an open market,” Rogan said. “As we’ve seen in Grover Beach, the ability for perverse incentives is huge here. I think personally it will self-regulate itself.”

Lompoc resident Crystal Reyes, who manages a marijuana collective in Goleta, said Lompoc’s proposed ordinance addressed items already handled in the state laws.

“While there is some good in it, there is a lot of over-reaching and over-regulating,” she said. 

Rules prohibiting the businesses from being near schools or youth facilities will automatically limit the location and number, Reyes said. 

Councilwoman Jenelle Osborne said the restriction of four dispensaries was made due to a recommendation that communities should initially limit the number to one per 10,000 residents during the implementation. 

Other areas of concerns centered on edible projects, packaging to ensure products are child-proof, the approval process, steps to appeal, the length of time to keep surveillance videos, and more. 

The council also declined to scrap its rules, and instead consider a modified ordinance proposed by the Lompoc Valley Cannabis Coalition.

The representative, Sarah Bumanglag, said the city’s rules mix medical marijuana and recreational marijuana with aspects of the law violating medical privacy laws and Fourth Amendment rights.

“With combining the two, you’re opening yourself up for litigation,” Bumanglag said. “Again it seems to be this not in good faith.”

Police Chief Pat Walsh renewed his opposition, citing public safety as the heart of his concern regarding the Lompoc rules. 

“I have a real problem with the commercialization of marijuana in Lompoc because there are lot of wolves in sheep’s clothes, and they’re going to come into our town,” Walsh said. 

While the proposed law calls for a background check for the license holder, Walsh said the city should require anyone who works in the industry to undergo a background check.

He added that surveillance cameras are key for robberies and other crimes in the parking lots for the businesses.

“It helps the business owner, it helps police and it might deter people from doing crime,” Walsh said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.

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