Santa Barbara County and the City of Santa Barbara Take Varied Stance on Medical Cannabis and Outright Ban Commercial Activity
- Posted by Laura Croft, Esq
- On December 30, 2016
- Commercial, County of Santa Barbara, cultivation, delivery, dispensaries, MCRSA, medical cannabis, MMRSA, regulations
On January 19, 2016, in response to California’s regulatory scheme, MCRSA, AB 243, AB 266, and SB 643, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors adopted Medical Marijuana Regulations, which appear at Article X, Chapter 35 of the County Code of Santa Barbara County. The regulations prohibit the cultivation and/or processing of medical marijuana within the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, except for the limited exemptions provided for (1) cultivation for personal medical use and (2) legal cultivation sites existing on January 19, 2016.
Medical cannabis cultivation is prohibited in all zones, districts, properties, and areas within the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, subject to the following limited exceptions:
- Medical Marijuana Cultivation for Personal Medical Use Exemption. A qualified patient or person with an identification card or that patient’s or person’s primary caregiver is allowed to engage in indoor or outdoor medical marijuana cultivation for personal medical use provided:
- a. The cultivation occurs on the lot that contains the lawful residential structure occupied by the qualified patient or person with an identification card; and
- b. The cultivation occurs on a single cultivation site that does not exceed one hundred square feet; and
- c. The cultivation conforms to all applicable zoning regulations and current California and county building codes; and
- d.The qualified patient or person with an identification card does not sell, distribute, donate, or provide marijuana to any other person or entity; and
- e. The primary caregiver does not sell, distribute, donate, or provide marijuana to any other person or entity for which they are not acting as the primary caregiver in accordance with the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.
- Medical marijuana cultivation locations already existing on January 19, 2016, if they are legal under California state law, will become legal nonconforming uses.
Legally established cultivations, prior to January 19, 2016, are subject to the same nuisance abatement laws that persons growing other agriculture products face. If a grower has an illegal trailer, restricted runoff, or other nuisance violations, the County will take enforcement action.
Santa Barbara County initially entertained banning medical cannabis deliveries; however, the Board quickly changed its tune and decided to allow marijuana delivery to continue. Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr explained to the Lompoc Record that she would never vote to ban deliveries, stating that would be “cruel and inhumane.” “My sister passed away last year and if she’d been expected to grow her own medicine with end-stage cancer, as so many people do – I mean it’s just a ridiculous proposition.”
Santa Barbara County zoning ordinances state that “medical marijuana dispensaries” are not allowed in any zone district in the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, and currently, the City of Santa Barbara is the only city in the entire tri-county area to permit medical dispensaries (Goleta currently has two medical marijuana dispensaries, both grandfathered in when the city put a moratorium on additional storefronts in 2009). The City of Santa Barbara Planning permits Medical Marijuana Storefront Collective Dispensaries, which are regulated by Chapter 28.80 of the Zoning Ordinance (Medical Cannabis Dispensaries), with a maximum of three (3) storefront collectives (Citywide).
No Commercial Cultivation Or Activity
Santa Barbara City Council took steps back in January 2016 when implementing emergency measure, Ordinance 5733, that prohibits the commercial cultivation of marijuana in the City of Santa Barbara, as well as the local licensing of non-medical marijuana businesses for two years, while Santa Barbara gets used to the idea of Prop. 64.
Proposed ordinances and present regulations will likely continue to shift over the next few years due to the passage of Prop. 64, legalizing the adult recreation use of marijuana, in Santa Barbara and across the State of California.
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