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SLO County residents weigh in on coming cannabis regs

Greta Mart/KCBX

After a three-and-a-half hour hearing Tuesday on cannabis regulations, San Luis Obispo county officials voted to continue the conversation to Oct. 17. Dozens of county residents attended the meeting to provide input on the regulations now before the board of supervisors. 

Wayne Moody is a longtime Huasna resident. He said his neighbor started a permitted grow and it has negatively impacted the area water supply.

“I am really concerned that we will have to drill a deeper well at considerable expense and all because our neighbor can profit from growing marijuana,” Moody said. “I recommend that the grow sites be limited to a smaller number of plants. This would limit the water usage from any given area.”

Neil Havlik said he hopes the board will follow the recommendation of the county’s planning commission. Those detailed recommendations can be found on the county’s planning department website.

“I would specifically urge your support for prohibition of cannabis activities in the Carrizo planning area, including California Valley. Due to the deleterious effects on habitat endangered species stress on a limited water supply and impacts to the infrastructure in California valley,” Havlick said.

Larry Montenegro has lived in the California Valley for over 25 years. He thinks the plan to ban cannabis grows from the California Valley is illogical.

“We've got neighbors that grow olive trees - thousands and thousands of acres. They use a lot of water,” Montenegro said. “Grapes. They use a lot of water. I don't understand why you guys are being so hard on this industry.”

There currently 43 cannabis growing operations in the Carrizo Plain and California Valley area, according to county staff. Of the 140 registered collectives and cooperatives around San Luis Obispo County, 39 are indoor and 101 are outdoor operations. 44 are in an area where the groundwater basin is at a “level of severity III,” the highest level of depletion. 96 are located in areas where the groundwater supplies are not depleted.

On October 17, the supervisors are expected to have another multi-hour discussion on the composition the county’s permanent cannabis regulations.

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