Marijuana dispensary operators will be ranked on their applications and neighborhood compatibility to open up shop in Santa Barbara County, as the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to move to a scoring system from a lottery.
The county also decided to cap the number of dispensaries at six for unincorporated areas, one maximum in each community plan area (Orcutt, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez, the eastern Goleta Valley, Isla Vista/Goleta, and Summerland/Toro Canyon).
Potential operators will be scored on their application, including a business plan, and neighborhood compatibility, Deputy Executive Officer Dennis Bozanich said.
The Board of Supervisors is expected to adopt the ordinance changes in January, and it will take months to hold community meetings, accept applications, review applications, and choose operators, which likely will happen in September or October 2020, Bozanich said.
County staff are developing a scoring sheet for applications, and it will be presented to the supervisors early next year for approval, County Counsel Michael Ghizzoni said.
Dispensaries have opened in several local cities, but Santa Barbara County has not accepted applications for retail storefronts yet.
However, there are dozens of cannabis cultivation operators and more in the permitting pipeline, and the county brought in $6.7 million in cannabis tax revenues in the first year, 2018-19.