Cannabis Plants
Cannabis Plants

New County Cannabis Regulations to go into Effect on December 31, 2017

Author: Department of Planning & Building
Date: Monday, November 27, 2017 4:24 PM

The County Board of Supervisors has established permanent regulations for cannabis activities in the unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo County. While some cannabis-related business activities will be allowed, they will be limited.


The Board of Supervisors held a continued public hearing on November 27, 2017 to establish regulations for cannabis activities in SLO County. The Board considered regulations recommended by the County Planning Commission, County staff input, and public input on the matter. The following is a list of the new rules. All activities, except for personal and caregiver cultivation, require a County land use permit to operate, in addition to a County business license and a State cannabis license. For a summary of which cannabis activities are allowed in each land use category, please view this table.

Personal Cultivation. Six cannabis plants, grown indoors, per dwelling unit, for personal use, are exempt from obtaining a land use permit.  Six cannabis plants, grown indoors, per site, by a caregiver are exempt from obtaining a land use permit. Caregivers are required to obtain a County business license. No outdoor personal or caregiver cultivation is allowed.

Commercial Cannabis Cultivation. Commercial cannabis cultivation may be permitted in the Agriculture (AG), Rural Lands (RL), Residential Rural (RR), and Industrial (IND) land use categories, with certain restrictions including minimum site size and setback requirements. For the first year, only those applicants who have an approved cooperative/collective registration under Ordinance 3334 can apply for a land use permit for commercial cannabis cultivation.

On AG zoned sites between 10 and 25 acres, up to two outdoor operations per site are permitted. On AG zoned sites greater than 25 acres, three outdoor operations per site are permitted. Outdoor cultivation on RL zoned sites is limited to one operation per site.  All indoor cultivation is limited to 22,000 square-feet per site. This can be achieved by one operation or multiple operations. An operation is limited in size to a single State license. A cultivator may transfer their operation to another property, but must obtain a new land use permit.

Cannabis Nurseries. Commercial cannabis nurseries may be permitted in the Agriculture (AG), Rural Lands (RL), Residential Rural (RR), and Industrial (IND) land use categories. There is no limit to the number of permitted nurseries in the County.

Water. A 1:1 water offset is required for cannabis cultivation and cannabis nurseries in areas with a Groundwater Basin at Level of Severity, unless a higher offset is required by CEQA review through the land use permit process. The water offset scan be achieved through a County-approved water conservation program for the respective basins. Cannabis activities cannot use trucked-in water as a source of water for the activity.

Cannabis Manufacturing. Non-volatile cannabis manufacturing facilities may be permitted in the Commercial Service (CS) and Industrial (IND) land use categories, and in the Agriculture (AG) land use category with cannabis grown onsite. Manufacturing of cannabis utilizing volatile methods is prohibited (Type 7 State licenses). Manufacturing facilities are prohibited from manufacturing cannabis edible products that resemble people, animals, insects, or fruit.

Cannabis Testing Facilities. Cannabis testing facilities may be permitted in the Commercial Service (CS) and Industrial (IND) land use categories.

Cannabis Dispensaries. Cannabis dispensaries are limited to delivery-only dispensaries (mobile deliveries) requiring a Type 9 State license. Dispensaries with storefronts open to the public, requiring a Type 10 State license, are prohibited. Dispensaries may be permitted in the Agriculture (AG), Commercial Service (CS), Industrial (IND), Residential Rural (RR), and Rural Lands (RL) land use categories subject to a land use permit. Dispensaries in the AG, RL, and RR land use categories are limited to only those products grown or manufactured onsite.

Cannabis Distribution Facilities. Cannabis distribution facilities may be permitted in the Commercial Service (CS) and Industrial (IND) land use categories. This land use type applies to applicants seeking standalone warehouse-type facilities to operate as a third-party distributor.  Applicants seeking a State distribution license only to transport goods are not required to obtain a land use permit, but may need to obtain a County business license.

Separation from Sensitive Uses. All permitted cannabis activities are required to be separated at least six-hundred (600) feet from any pre-school, elementary school, junior high school, high school, library, park, playground, recreation or youth center, licensed drug or alcohol recovery facility, or licensed sober living facility. Distance shall be measured from the nearest point of the property line of the site that contains the cultivation to the nearest point of the property line of the enumerated use, using a direct straight-line measurement. Cultivation and nurseries are required to be separated one-thousand (1,000) feet from the above uses, but can request a modification.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The cannabis regulations affect two areas of the County Government Code: the inland land use ordinance and the coastal zone land use ordinance. The Board adopted the inland ordinance changes on November 27, 2017. Those rules will go into effect on December 31, 2017 and will then replace the temporary rules currently in place. Any cannabis businesses registered under the current interim zoning/urgency ordinance must apply for a permanent land use permit when the new rules take effect. No inland land use applications will be accepted until after the inland ordinance is effective (December 31, 2017).

The Board also adopt the Coastal Zone Ordinance changes on November 27, 2017, but now the California Coastal Commission must review and certify those changes before they take effect. No coastal land use applications will be accepted until after the coastal zone ordinance is certified.

The Board of Supervisors considered the Planning Commission’s Recommended Ordinances and public input on this matter.

The Department of Planning and Building will be holding an application workshop on December 11, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.. No applications will be accepted at this workshop; instead, staff will be on hand to answer questions regarding the application process and to provide general property information and information on the cannabis ordinances. Please check the Department of Planning & Building website for updates on when applications can be submitted and for more information on the upcoming application workshop.

 

Adopted Inland Ordinance

Adopted Coastal Zone Ordinance