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SLO Co. Supervisors vote on cannabis regulations, smoking and vaping bans

SLO CO SUPERVISORS
Nathalie Vera/KEYT.com

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. --On Tuesday, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors weighed in on three separate proposals involving cannabis cultivation sites, smoking, and vaping bans in unincorporated parts of the county.

The Board approved a temporary permit extension for cannabis cultivation. Cannabis grows in the county can continue while they await hearings for permanent licenses, a process can take months or years.

People on both sides of the issue spoke out during public comment on Tuesday, and at a previous hearing on the issue in December.

“Every single one of these operators that are cultivating right now under the resolution is doing so with state licenses, with dozens of inspections by many many agencies, and with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process," said Nick Andre of Natural Healing Center, a company with cultivation sites in SLO, and Santa Barbara counties.

Opponents of the extension have brought up concerns over public health and safety compliance. They've also cited potential fire risks at pot grows, the odor, and other problems.

“The majority of our members operating near hemp and/or cannabis have experienced significant, and often acrimonious conflict," said Claire Wineman, president of the Grower-Shipper Association of SLO and SB counties.

The extension affects the 34 cultivation sites in SLO County. Pot growers will be able to continue operations for another six months.

The Supervisors also voted on two motions banning smoking and vaping in all public areas outside city limits.

The new regulations come amid concerns over the effects of second-hand smoke, and the vaping epidemic affecting teenagers. During public comment, several local educators talked about middle and high school kids increasingly caught using the flavored products.

"Here's where the good are, and you just smoke it through this," Dr. Penny Borenstein of SLO County Public Heatlh demonstrated during a presention before the board. "So [it's] really easy for a kid to have a in a classroom."

One public commenter, who said he represented a number of vaping retailers, urged Supervisors to hold off on making any decisions yet.

"The real bad ingredients, the vitamin e and the illegal pot, they're not obtained from retailers, and will continue to do so even if this ordinance is pursued."

These rules go into effect in 30 days. Vaping retailers say that time frame does not give them enough time to sell off their inventory.

Supervisor Lynn Compton agreed with retailers on this aspect, saying they should've been given more time to sell those products before the ban takes effect.

Cannabis / San Luis Obispo County

Nathalie Vera