Paso Robles considering cannabis storefronts after survey finds widespread support

Respondents of a community-wide cannabis investigation in Paso Robles have shown strong support for the legalization of adult cannabis use and cannabis retail storefronts in the area.

More than 1,000 Paso Robles residents, business owners and landowners participated in the survey distributed by the city.

62% of survey participants said they voted in favor of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational cannabis use for adults over the age of 21. This response matched the actual voting results for Proposition 64 in the city.

“You have passionate individuals on both sides,” said Chris Huot, assistant city manager of Paso Robles, “And so it’s part of the process that local government goes through to assess things every day, and ultimately the council takes political decision on this.”

The inquest came after a passionate audience forum in August allowed community members to voice their opinions on local cannabis regulations. Many residents present at the forum vouched for the advantages medical and recreational use of cannabis.

After City Council approved a law in October allowing Paso Robles Medical Delivery Services to also provide recreational cannabis, the next policy in question is whether or not the city will allow physical cannabis storefronts in the area. .

Elena Garcia, a business professional and recreational cannabis user from Paso Robles, argued at the forum that surrounding towns have successfully opened cannabis storefronts, and Paso should follow suit.

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A marijuana plant is on display at the 2016 Cannabis Business Summit & Expo last month in Oakland, California.

“I wish I didn’t have to travel to Grover Beach and other areas to spend my money, and I’d like that revenue to support my hometown of Paso,” Garcia said.

Other residents said they could not support legal access to a psychoactive drug. Longtime Paso Robles resident Sherry Nelson argued that cannabis storefronts could lead young people in the area to resort to drugs, such as cannabis, to deal with psychological and emotional stress.

“Teach our young people, even our adults, that if they feel a little depressed, a little anxious, immediately go to drugs to get the answer; it’s a life of horrors in situations,” Nelson said.

Another growing question is whether cannabis could potentially supplement Paso Robles fame. wine industry.

Some Central Coast wineries have already begun to incorporate cannabis into their practices. Last year, Sunstone Winery in Santa Barbara became the first in his county to get a permit to grow cannabis next to his grapes. Huot said it’s possible Paso wineries could one day follow suit.

“I’m sure there are people who are involved in the wine industry who are keeping tabs on the cannabis industry, and whether or not those paths cross is yet to be determined,” Huot said.

According to the City of Paso Robles, the data collected through the public forum and the subsequent survey will be important parts of the ongoing discussion about cannabis policy in Paso Robles.

Elisha A. Tilghman