Grover Beach Council Candidates Talk Marijuana

Cannabis has become a breakout industry in Grover Beach. There are now three cannabis businesses operating within city limits, with 3% to 5% of their gross receipts flowing into city coffers.

The six candidates running for city council or mayor this November were recently asked how they feel about their city becoming an industry leader in San Luis Obispo County. Here’s what they told the San Luis Obispo Tribune:

Court reporter and mayoral candidate Liz Doukas immediately urged some caution.

“While [Councilman] Jeff Lee and [termed-out Mayor] John Shoals ignored staff recommendations and voted for several marijuana sellers they had developed cozy relationships with, I would like to promote business owners who sell locally grown crops and who do not have a criminal history. Meanwhile, because of conflicts of interest, [Councilwoman and mayoral candidate] Debbie Peterson cannot vote on marijuana issues. The city needs a non-biased mayor who can vote on marijuana issues in our city.” The city should “not rely solely on marijuana dispensary sales,” she added.

Councilman Lee, who is also running for mayor, was far less critical of the process. Things have worked out well, he said.

“These businesses are proving to be good community partners.”

Likewise, Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Debbie Peterson praised the city’s “dedicated and hard-working staff” for crafting the city’s cannabis ordinances.

“It was a bold and forward-thinking solution to bolster the city’s limited finances.”

Councilwomen Barbara Nicolls and Mariam Shah, who are both running for re-election, acknowledged their initial apprehensiveness about the issue.

“Personally, I would rather have left it at medical cannabis for a year to be sure our system was working as expected, before extending to recreational use,” said Nicolls. Shah, however, noted that many of the dire predictions -- such a spike in crime or incidents surrounding storefronts -- never materialized.

Nicolls and Shah’s challenger Robert Robert did not provide a response to the Tribune’s questions.

For more on the candidates’ responses, including their positions on a range of other important issues, click here


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Cannabis has become a breakout industry in Grover Beach. There are now three cannabis businesses operating within city limits, with 3% to 5% of their gross receipts flowing into city coffers.