Lompoc moves closer to permitting pot businesses, while Santa Maria opts for ban

In Northern Santa Barbara County, the city of Lompoc is proceeding with its “free market approach” to marijuana, while Santa Maria is in the process of adopting much tougher regulations.

Last November, the Lompoc City Council approved an ordinance that City Manager Patrick Wiemiller described as a “free-market approach.” However, implementation of the ordinance was put on hold in mid-December after a group of residents submitted a petition calling for a referendum on overturning the marijuana regulation.

Lompoc officials announced on Tuesday that the backers of the initiative did not gather enough valid signatures. As a result, Lompoc’s pot ordinance is now in effect, and city officials are preparing to begin accepting permit applications from marijuana businesses.

The city’s ordinance does not set limits on the number of marijuana businesses that can open, nor on the number of applications the city receives or permits it issues. Brick and mortar dispensaries, delivery services, marijuana grows and pot product manufacturing are all allowed under the ordinance. Marijuana businesses, though, cannot operate within a 600-foot radius of schools, daycare centers and youth centers.

In Santa Maria, the city council voted on Tuesday in favor of an ordinance banning brick and mortar dispensaries — both medical and recreational. As for mobile dispensaries, the ordinance only allows the delivery of medical marijuana, and the pot must come from a location outside Santa Maria.

The Santa Maria council must still approve a second reading of the ordinance for its new rules to take effect.