Emerging Markets, Front Page

New California Cannabis Markets and Licensing Opportunities are Coming Online in 2020

February 3, 2020 / By Cara Mickelson
West Virginia

Oakland, California Lake Merritt waterfront buildings at sunset By Crin, courtesy of AdobeStock

California is the country’s most populous and diverse state, with a population of 39.75 million. It also has the country’s largest legal and illicit cannabis markets, boasting a projected legal recreational sales value of $6.59 billion by 2025. Its illicit market, however, continues to thrive, posing a significant threat to the legal industry across multiple regulated municipalities. In 2019, California’s illicit cannabis market was projected to reach approximately $8.7 billion in sales, but its legal market wasn’t projected to reach even half of that ($3.1 billion). The two primary culprits of California’s thriving illicit market have been identified as sky-high sales tax (up to 25% depending on the municipality) and the fact that there aren’t enough retail stores to meet adult-use demand. Only 89 of California’s 482 cities allow cannabis retailers, making access to legal cannabis difficult or impossible for 393 cities across the state. Additionally, only about 800 of the 6,000 licenses anticipated are open for business due to “overly burdensome regulations,” resulting in the state revenue resting at about a third of what was expected.


2020, however, should prove to be a landmark year for California’s cannabis industry as the state prepares to consolidate its three licensing entities. By July 2021, Gov. Newsom’s Administration plans to combine the current cannabis responsibilities of the Department of Food and Agriculture, the Department of Public Health, and the Bureau of Cannabis Control into a single entity; the Department of Cannabis Control. The administration believes that this will improve licensing access and simplify the state’s oversight of commercial cannabis operations. Newsom also anticipates that Assembly Member Rob Bonta will resurrect his proposal from last year to reduce the cannabis excise tax from 15% to 11%, which could help the legal market to compete with illicit sales.

As California gears up to make foundational changes to its legal medicinal and adult-use programs this year, several municipalities are also making changes. Review the status of new licensing rounds available in cities throughout the state below.

Currently Open

Oakland, CA

Cannabis Dispensary Permit Applications:

  • As defined by OMC 5.80 & 5.81, Ordinance 13504 “Cannabis dispensary” or “Dispensary” shall mean a facility where cannabis, cannabis products, or devices for the use of cannabis or cannabis products are offered, either individually or in any combination, for retail sale or in exchange for entrance to an event, to either adults over 21 years of age, qualified patients or primary caregivers. This includes an establishment that delivers cannabis and cannabis products as part of a retail sale.”
  • The application period opened on November 20, 2019.
  • Applicants must submit their application by 3:00 PM PST or be in line by 2:30 PM PST February 27, 2020, to the Special Activity Permits office in the City Administrator’s Office at 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 1st floor, Room 123.  
  • Eight permits are available with four reserved for equity applicants (selected by drawing) and four reserved for either general or equity applicants (selected by scoring).
  • Equity applicants must be current Oakland residents.
  • The Request for Permit Application process (RFPA) consists of three phases:
    • Phase One:
      • Partners, managers, and board members must submit their live scan form.
      • Submit one complete application (application, fees, and required attachments)
      • Application Fee: $3,005 (excluding equity applicants)
      • Live Scan Fee: $35 (per person, including equity applicants)
      • Submit three additional copies of the application (without attachments).
    • Phase Two:
      • City staff will review all applications submitted by the due date and time. 
      • On Friday, March 31, 2020, city staff will notify equity applicants if their application has the required documentation. 
      • On Monday, April 13, 2020, by 3:30 pm, equity applicants must have updated their applications if verification was required. 
      • May 2020: A public drawing will be held to select equity applicants.
      • May 2020: Notification of top-scoring general and equity applicants (if a qualifying equity applicant scores in the top four of applications overall, then it will not qualify for the drawing.)
      • Four selected equity and four top-scoring general/ equity applicants will be invited to proceed to phase three. 
    • Phase Three:
      • Phase three applicants will then have 120 days to identify a compliant location for their dispensary. Dispensary locations must:
        • Not be within 600 feet of a public or private school.
        • Not be within 600 feet of another dispensary or youth center (measured from door to door) 
        • Be located in a commercial or industrial zone. Here is a helpful map of permitted zones
      • That location will then undergo a public hearing. Before this time, applicants should familiarize themselves with the community and its relevant businesses, organizations, and departments. 
      • Upon approval of the fire, revenue, building, and police departments, the hearing officer can then grant conditional approval. Alternatively, the hearing officer can deny the applicant but offer an additional 60 days to source another location. 
      • Conditionally approved dispensary applicants then have ninety days to secure a lease or purchase the site of the proposed dispensary.
      • General or equity applicant runners up will be allowed to proceed to phase three, if a current phase three applicant either fails to receive hearing approval, or can’t secure their property within the stipulated timelines, or violates the terms set in OMC 5.80.020 (C) that states that “no individual or entity shall have a direct or indirect interest in more than two dispensary permits.”
Nevada City, CA
  • Upcoming due dates for cannabis manufacturing, distribution, cultivation (no mature plant grows), and testing laboratory business applications:
    • March 31, 2020
    • June 30, 2020 
  • Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Applicants must hand-deliver a minimum of two bound hard copies and one digital copy of the Business Application Form and all attachments.
  • Application Fees
    • Payment of $1,550.00 for the initial application fee. 
    • Payment of $775.00 for each subsequent cannabis business type requested by the same applicant in a single application (if applicable).  
  • A complete application will consist of the following information:
    • The Nevada City Medical Cannabis Business Application Form
    • Background check application proof of completion 
    • Proposed business location and zoning verification letter
    • Application fee payment 
    • Principal criminal history check
    • Business plan
      • Pro-forma
      • Proof of capitalization
      • Budget
      • Supply tracking and monitoring
      • Day-to-day operations
      • Operational schedule outlining construction timeline
    • Environmental benefits practices
    • Labor & employment plan
    • Local enterprise plan
    • Neighborhood compatibility plan
    • Community benefits plan
    • Qualifications of principals
    • Safety and security plan
  • Applicant principals must pass a criminal background check as outlined above before department staff (the Police Chief, Fire Chief, Building Official, City Engineer, City Manager, City Planner, and an attorney from the City Attorney’s Office) can proceed with their review. 
  • The Department of Planning will then accept applications and review for completeness and distribute to Planning Commissioners for a 30 to 60 day review period. Staff will then notify property owners within 300 feet of the proposed business location and schedule a public meeting
  • The application will then be denied, approved, or continued. Approval will be contingent on the applicant obtaining final entitlements and or approvals for land use and the environmental review necessary to begin operations. 
  • The following types of business applications are available:

Manufacturing

  • Defined by the Nevada City Municipal Code, ORDINANCE NO.2018-10 as “ a person that conducts the production, preparation, propagation, or compounding of manufactured cannabis, as defined in this section, or cannabis products either directly or indirectly or by extraction methods, or independently by means of chemical synthesis at a fixed location that packages or repackages cannabis or cannabis products or labels or relabels its container.”
  • Edible cannabis or edible cannabis products must be placed in tamper-evident packaging and labeled with all warnings (allergens, cannabis weight, child warning, date of manufacture) before a manufacturer delivers to a dispensary.

Cultivation

  • Defined by the Nevada City Municipal Code, ORDINANCE NO.2018-10  as “any activity, whether occurring indoors or outdoors, involving the propagation, planting, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, and/or trimming of cannabis plants or any part thereof for any purpose, including medical marijuana.”
  • Outdoor cultivation is prohibited and cannabis plants cannot be within public view
  • In addition to the forms, plans, and general information above, cultivation operations must submit the following as a part of their application:
    • A cultivation and operations plan 
    • A description and schedule of the cultivation activities (indoor, mixed-light) 
    • A description of a legal water source, irrigation plan, and projected water use
    • Electrical power source identification and compliance plan including applicable Building Codes.
    • Odor control plan
    • No “mature plant” grows in these permitting rounds
    • “Nursery operations shall be limited to one operation per any parcel no greater than 10,000 square feet in size, regardless of whether the nursery operation is conducted by single or multiple permittees.”

Distribution

  • Defined by the Nevada City Municipal Code, ORDINANCE NO.2018-10  as “the procurement, sale, and transport, of cannabis or cannabis products between entities licensed pursuant to the MCRSA and any subsequent State of California legislation regarding the same.”

Testing Lab 

  • Defined by the Nevada City Municipal Code, ORDINANCE NO.2018-10  as “a facility, entity, or site that offers or performs tests of cannabis or cannabis products and that is both of the following: (1) Accredited by an accrediting body that is independent from all other persons involved in the cannabis industry in the state. (2) Registered with the State Department of Public Health.”

 

San Luis Obispo, CA
  • The City of San Luis Obispo will be accepting commercial cannabis business operator permit applications now through February 15, 2020
  • There is no limit on the number of manufacturing, delivery, cultivation, and non-storefront retail permits in the city. 
  • The current application period is open to all permit types except retail storefronts.
  • The City Council adopted new merit-based criteria in December 2019 which it will use to review and score applications. 
  • Initial Application Fee $4,955 (for all commercial cannabis business applicants) & Final Application Fee when permit issues $18,307 (for all commercial cannabis business applicants)
  • Annual renewal fees:
    • Retail Businesses $93,563.98
    • Manufacturing Businesses $74,411.12
    • Cultivation $74,627.02
    • Other Business $68,064.37
  • All persons and entities must obtain both a commercial cannabis operator permit (to be renewed annually) and a use permit to conduct the commercial cannabis activity at a specific location from the city. 
  • A use permit application consists of the following:
    • Site plan, floor plans, and a general description of the nature, square-footage, parking and type of cannabis activity(ies) being requested.
    • An operations plan including a security plan, plan for restriction of access by minors; employee safety and training plan; odor, noise, and light management plan; estimated energy usage and energy efficiency plan; estimated water usage and water efficiency plans; and waste management plan.
    • Compliance with signage rules and regulations
    • Neighborhood compatibility analysis
    • Proof of ownership, option to purchase, or other proof of right to apply for the permit at the location.
    • A list of all other uses on the property.

Commercial Cannabis Cultivation 

    • Permitted indoors only 
    • Restricted to the following zones:
      • Service commercial (C-S);
      • Manufacturing (M);
      • Business park (BP).
    • 70,000 sq. ft maximum of cumulative canopy area 
    • Conditional cultivation permits include:
      • Specialty Cultivator. 5,000 sq. ft. maximum of canopy and includes processing.
      • Small Cultivator. 10,000 sq. ft. maximum of canopy and includes processing.
      • Nursery, Cannabis. 10,000 sq. ft. maximum of indoor propagation area.

Manufacturing

  • Nonvolatile cannabis or cannabis products manufacturing may be conditionally permitted indoors only in the following zones:
    • Service commercial (C-S);
    • Manufacturing (M);
    • Business park (BP).
  • Cannabis or cannabis products manufacturing involving volatile solvents, processes, compounds or substances is prohibited.
  • A complete description of all products used in the manufacturing process including the cannabis supply chain, liquids, solvents, agents, and processes is required.

Distribution

    • Commercial cannabis distribution may be conditionally permitted in the following zones:
      • Service commercial (C-S);
      • Manufacturing (M);
      • Business park (BP);

Testing Laboratory

    • Commercial cannabis testing may be conditionally permitted in the following zones:
      • Service commercial (C-S);
      • Manufacturing (M);
      • Business park (BP);
      • Office (O).
  • Must comply with all state requirements for the testing of cannabis, including dual licensure and participation in an authorized track-and-trace program.
  • The owners, investors, permittees, operators, and employees of the cannabis testing laboratory will not be associated with, nor have any financial interest in, any other form of commercial cannabis activity.
  • Must be accredited by an appropriate accrediting agency as approved by the state. 

 

Benicia, CA

The City of Benicia is now accepting pre-applications for cannabis testing, manufacturing, distribution, cultivation, delivery, and microbusinesses. There is no limitation on the number of use permits that may be issued for these businesses. An amendment to chapter 17 of the Benicia city ordinance passed in October 2019, removing the limitation placed on the number of microbusinesses and allowing for cannabis delivery. The city also allows for retail businesses, but will not be accepting any new proposals for retail businesses at this time. 

Application Process and Requirements:

  • Pre-application meeting
    • Applicants are required to apply for and attend a pre-application meeting with the city. City staff will first review the request, then schedule the meeting for the first available date and time at least three weeks after the completed request has been submitted.
    • Incomplete request applications will not be considered for a meeting.  
    • The city reserves time for one pre-application meeting per week. 
    • Security and safety will be key subjects to review with several city departments during the meeting. Here is a list of what you will need.
    • Pre-application meeting request form
    • Pre-application meeting fee: $1,140
  • Public Safety License issued by the Cheif of Police
    • All cannabis business applicants that have attended a pre-application meeting will then need to apply for a public safety license which details your business’ floor, site, and security plans, as well as background checks. 
    • Public safety license application submittal instructions and form.
    • Public safety license application fee: $16,200
  • Use Permit issued by the Planning Commission
    • All cannabis businesses must submit a cannabis use permit (CUP) concurrently, or after, their public safety license application. The CUP application will entail your business narrative statements, design plans, environmental checklist, vicinity map, project summary, mailing labels, site plan, photographs, parking plan, and all other relevant materials. 
    • Use permit application submittal instructions and form.
    • Use permit application fee: $19,000

Cultivation Operations Supplemental Conditions (Ch. 17.84.100)

  • The commercial cultivation of cannabis is prohibited outdoors and must be done within a fully enclosed space.
  • Limited to 22,000 square feet of total canopy size per property.
  • Commercial cannabis cultivation must comply with federal, state, and local regulations and laws regarding pesticide use. 
  • Cannabis plants cannot be easily visible from off-site. 

Manufacturing Operations Supplemental Conditions (Ch. 17.84.100)

  • Manufacturers “may use extraction processes that employ nonvolatile or volatile solvents. Extractions using a volatile solvent, including butane, must be conducted in a professional, closed-loop extraction system. All extraction processes used shall comply with the BMC including the fire and life safety code and with state cannabis laws and be recognized as safe pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”
  • Devices used by Manufacturers for “manufacturing, processing, and analytical testing must be UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed or otherwise certified by an approved third-party testing agency or engineer and approved for the intended use by the city’s building official and fire code official.
  • State food handler certification is required for all individuals participating in the production of edible cannabis products. 
  • A country health permit to manufacture or sell cannabis products is required for manufacturers that sell or manufacture edible cannabis products.

Microbusinesses Supplemental Conditions (Ch. 17.84.100)

  • No on-site customers are permitted. For Microbusiness’, retail is limited to deliveries.
  • “Microbusinesses shall not sell drug paraphernalia and implements that may be used to ingest or consume cannabis except where such sales and operations comply with Health and Safety Code Section 11364.5.”
  • The commercial cultivation of cannabis is prohibited outdoors and must be done within a fully enclosed space.
  • Limited to 22,000 square feet of total canopy size per property.
  • Commercial cannabis cultivation must comply with federal, state, and local regulations and laws regarding pesticide use. 
  • Cannabis plants cannot be easily visible from off-site. 
  • Microbusinesses “may use extraction processes that employ nonvolatile or volatile solvents. Extractions using a volatile solvent, including butane, must be conducted in a professional, closed-loop extraction system. All extraction processes used shall comply with the BMC including the fire and life safety code and with state cannabis laws and be recognized as safe pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”
  • Devices used by Microbusinesses for “manufacturing, processing, and analytical testing must be UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed or otherwise certified by an approved third-party testing agency or engineer and approved for the intended use by the city’s building official and fire code official.
  • State food handler certification is required for all individuals participating in the production of edible cannabis products. 
  • A country health permit to manufacture or sell cannabis products is required for microbusinesses that sell or manufacture edible cannabis products.

Testing Laboratory Supplemental Conditions (Ch. 17.84.100)

  • Testing lab “owners, permittees, operators, and employees will not be associated with any other form of commercial cannabis activity.”
  • Must be accredited by a state-approved accrediting agency 
  • The operating plan must “demonstrate proper protocols and procedures for statistically valid sampling methods and accurate certification of cannabis and cannabis products for potency, purity, pesticide residual levels, mold, and other contaminants according to adopted industry standards.”

Delivery Supplemental Conditions (Ch. 17.84.100)

  • A cannabis retailer cannot sell cannabis and cannabis products exclusively by delivery. “Delivery of cannabis to locations outside a permitted cannabis retailer shall only be permitted in conjunction with a permitted cannabis retail facility that has a physical location and a retail storefront in Benicia open to the public or a licensed and permitted retail location outside of Benicia.”
  • Delivery businesses are required to provide a list of all vehicles used for delivery (make, model, year, license plate number, and VIN) to the chief of police.
  • Customers must be given the option to make non-cash payments. While delivering cannabis or cannabis products, drivers may not carry more than a combined total of $3,000 in cash and/or cannabis or cannabis products at any one time.
  • Delivery vehicles cannot advertise the name of the cannabis business or display markings or advertisements associated with cannabis. 
  • Delivers must occur between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM

 

Opening in Q1 2020

Oxnard, CA

On October 1, 2019, the city adopted Ordinance 2965 to the Oxnard City Code (OCC) to allow the regulated testing, manufacturing, and distribution of cannabis.  The application window for these permits closed on October 10, 2019, with additional application windows expected. In December a new ordinance (ORD 2972) was added to allow retail/dispensaries.

 

Dispensary

  • ORD 2972 will go into effect on January 18, 2020
  • The application window is anticipated to open early February 2020
  • City council approved a retail cannabis ordinance on December 3, 2019 that would allow up to eight dispensaries in commercial areas across the city 
  • A special use permit will be required for retail dispensaries, issued by the Planning Commission.
  • Zoning will be difficult and competitive to navigate. The city has adopted the state requirement and definition for commercial cannabis buffer zones as a 600-foot sensitive use buffer. Consult this map for details

Opening Later in 2020

Pomona, CA

The City of Pomona adopted Ordinance Number 4257 in April 2019, which established a permit procedure for commercial cannabis businesses including, medicinal and adult-use cannabis indoor cultivation, manufacturing, testing, distribution, retail-storefront, microbusiness, and ancillary transportation and delivery. Applications for commercial cannabis permits are anticipated to be available by Spring 2020.

 

The permit application process consists of four phases and will be scored using a merit-based system:

  • Phase 1: Application
    • Submitting complete information
    • Obtaining zoning clearance
    • Completing a livescan and background checks
    • Submitting fees
  • Phase 2: Initial Scoring
    • Points are designated as follows:
      • Business Plan (350 points)
      • Safety and Security Plan (200 points)
      • Neighborhood Integration Plan (200 points)
      • Labor and employment plan (150 points)
      • Air Quality Plan (100 points)
    • Applicants who score a minimum of 80% or 800 points in Phase Two are eligible to undergo the public presentation and comment process of Phase Three.
  • Phase 3: Public Presentation
    • A Commercial Cannabis Permit Application Evaluator, who has not participated in phase two, shall be appointed by the City Manager. The Evaluator will conduct a public meeting to receive public comment on each qualified application.
    • 10 days prior to the scheduled public meeting, notice will be given to all occupants and property owners within 1,000 feet of the applicant’s proposed business location. The applicant will make its presentation during the public meeting.
    • The evaluator will take public comment and each applicant’s presentation into account, as well as all application materials, amendments, and the evaluator’s potential site visit. 
  • Phase 4: Final Ranking & Permit Issuance
    • The applicants must score a minimum of 900 points out of 1,000 total points to be eligible for a Commercial Cannabis Permit. 
    • The City Manager will then issue the highest-ranking eligible applicants permits to the extent that they are available. 

 

Zoning:

Ordinance Number 4273 was approved by the City Council on November 4, 2019, which established a Commercial Cannabis Permit Overlay District, setting locations in the City that permit land uses related to commercial cannabis. Commercial cannabis businesses must also comply with the Ordinance 4257’s sensitive use buffer of 1,000 feet between the cannabis business and, for example, K-12 schools, daycare centers, and youth recreation centers. Additionally, Storefront retail businesses must not be established within 1,000 feet from another commercial cannabis storefront retail business.

 

Prospective applicants should begin by reviewing:

  • Ordinance 4257 (Business Ordinance)
  • 4254 (Tax Ordinance)
  • 4273 (Commercial Cannabis Permit Overlay District Ordinance)
  • The Permit District Ordinance zoning map.

 

Cultivation Facilities

  • Cultivation is defined as “any activity involving the planting, growing, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, or trimming of cannabis,” and a Cultivation site is defined as ” a location where cannabis is planted, grown, harvested, dried, cured, graded, or trimmed, or a location where any combination of those activities occurs.” 
  • Cultivation must occur indoors, outdoor cultivation is prohibited.
  • Per Ordinance 4257 “A permittee shall only be allowed to cultivate the square feet of canopy space permitted by state law and in the permit issued for the premises.” 
  • A cannabis business tax measure applies, imposing a tax rate of up to $10.00 per canopy square feet 
  • Applicants must submit the following with their application:
    • A cultivation and operations plan 
    • A description of a legal water source, irrigation plan, and projected water use.
    • Identification of the source of electrical power and plan for compliance with applicable Building Codes and related codes. 
    • Odor control plan to address odor and other public nuisances that may derive from the cultivation

 

Manufacturing Business

  • A manufacturer is defined as a “licensee that conducts the production, preparation, propagation, or compounding of cannabis or cannabis products either directly or indirectly or by extraction methods, or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis at a fixed location that packages or repackages cannabis or cannabis products or labels or re-labels its container. A manufacturer may also be a person that infuses cannabis in its products but does not perform its own extraction,” and a manufacturing site is defined as “a location that produces, prepares, propagates, or compounds cannabis or cannabis products, directly or indirectly, by extraction methods, independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis at a fixed location that packages or repackages cannabis or cannabis products or labels or re-labels its container, and is owned and operated by a person issued a valid Commercial Cannabis Permit for manufacturing from the City and, a valid state license as required for manufacturing of cannabis products.”
  • A cannabis business tax of 6% of gross receipts applies

 

Cannabis Testing

  • A testing laboratory “means a laboratory, facility, or entity in the state that offers or performs tests of cannabis or cannabis products and that is both of the following: (1) Accredited by an accrediting body that is independent from all other persons involved in Commercial Cannabis Activity in the state. (2) Licensed by the State of California.
  • The permittee shall be accredited by a body that is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Mutual Recognition Arrangement.
  • A cannabis business tax of 6% of gross receipts applies

 

Cannabis Distribution

  • Distribution “means the procurement, sale, and transport of cannabis and cannabis products between licensees. Distribution shall also have the same meaning as in Section 2600 I (r) of the Business and Professions Code, as same may be amended from time to time,” and a Distributor “means a person holding a valid Commercial Cannabis Permit for distribution issued by the City and a valid state license for distribution, required by state law to engage in the business of purchasing cannabis from a licensed cultivator or cannabis products from a licensed manufacturer, for sale to a licensed retailer.”
  • The Permittee for cannabis distribution shall only procure, sell, or transport cannabis or cannabis products that are packaged and sealed in tamper-evident packaging using unique identifiers, such as batch and lot numbers or bar codes, to identify and track the cannabis or cannabis products.
  • A cannabis business tax of 6% of gross receipts applies

 

Storefront-retailer

  • A Storefront-retailer is defined as “a storefront retailer of a commercial cannabis business facility where cannabis, cannabis products, or devices for the use of cannabis or cannabis products are offered, either individually or in any combination, for retail sale to customers at a fixed location, including an establishment that also offers delivery of cannabis and cannabis products as part of a retail sale, and which are open to the public, and where the operator is authorized to operate in the City as a retailer and holds a valid state license as required by state law to operate a retailer.”
  • Storefront retailers also providing delivery shall comply with the requirements pertaining  to deliveries.
  • Retailers are restricted to the quantity of on-site stock of cannabis and cannabis products that is reasonably anticipated to meet the daily demand.
  • A cannabis business tax of 6% of gross receipts applies

 

Microbusiness

  • A microbusiness “means licensees who engage in at least three (3) of the following commercial cannabis activities: indoor cultivation of less than 10,000 square feet, manufacturing (level 1, type 6), distribution, and retailer-storefront.”

 

Delivery-Only Retailers

  • A “Delivery-Only Retailer” means a non-storefront, delivery only retailer as a commercial cannabis business facility where cannabis, cannabis products, or devices for the use of cannabis or cannabis products are offered, either individually or in any combination, for retail sale to customers, where the premises are non-storefront, are closed to the public, and sales are conducted exclusively by delivery, where a vehicle is used to convey the cannabis or cannabis products to the customer from a fixed location, and where the operator is authorized by the City to operate as a retailer and holds a valid state license as required by state law to operate as a retailer.”
  • Delivery is defined as “the commercial transfer of cannabis or cannabis products to a customer. Delivery also includes the use by a retailer of any technology platform owned and controlled by the retailer.”
  • A Delivery-Only Retailer “shall facilitate the vehicle dispensing of cannabis or cannabis products with a technology platform owned by or licensed to the Delivery-Only Retailer that uses point-of-sale technology to track and database technology to record and store the following information for each transaction involving the exchange of cannabis or cannabis products between the permittee and qualified patient, primary caregiver, or customer.”

 

Concord, CA

Concord’s City Council began considering an Ordinance on November 5, 2019, to add adult-use cannabis licenses for manufacturing and distribution, increase the maximum number of allowable cannabis licenses for manufacturing, allow medicinal and adult-use cannabis retail, and allow cannabis microbusinesses. No formal ordinance has been drafted at this time, but the following are the proposed changes for consideration:

  • Increase the number of manufacturing licenses from two to five.
  • Increase the number of testing laboratories from two to “no limit.”
  • Add two retail-storefront (only zoned in DMX and WMX) and two non-retail storefront licenses.
  • Add two microbusiness licenses.
  • Add Distribution license type 13, currently only with manufacturing, to be allowable with retail storefronts, non-retail storefronts, and microbusinesses.
  • Add two stand-alone distribution licenses (type 11). 
  • Keep current unlimited delivery

 

Here is a tentative schedule for the city to develop cannabis regulations:

  • February 5, 2020: Planning Commission meeting to develop code recommendations to City Council.
  • March-April, 2020: A series of City Council meetings to read revised ordinances and develop criteria for a merit-based Request for Proposal (RFP) process by the Planning Commission and Council Committee on Policy Development & Internal Operations.
  • May 7, 2020: Ordinances effective and RFP for retail uses will be issued shortly thereafter. 

 

For future consideration, the Council has also directed staff to research the following issues:

  • Updates to map concerning sensitive uses. 
  • Stand-along distribution type 11 license details 
  • Vaping products sales bans in the city by retailers and microbusinesses. 

 

Proposed Zoning:

Cannabis businesses must comply with the city’s established Overlay District and storefront retail locations must adhere to proposed zoning districts. Under California state law, cannabis business locations cannot be within 600-feet of a sensitive use. Sensitive uses include:

  • A public or private K-12 school 
  • A daycare center, preschool, or nursery school.
  • A youth community center.

 

Corona, CA

Corona is currently considering the implementation and regulation of commercial cannabis businesses. City Council staff, together with a Council Cannabis Ad-Hoc Advisory Committee, and the City Planning Committee, are developing the ordinance, regulations, and procedures for cannabis businesses as of April 24, 2019. The following business types will be allowed to operate in the city’s manufacturing zones (M-1, M-2, M-3, and M-4):

  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
  • Testing Labs
  • Retailers
  • Commercial cannabis cultivation is currently not being considered. 

 

The creation of the city’s ordinance, regulations, and procedures is expected to be completed by the 1st quarter of 2020 with the permit application process expected to take two to five months after that.

 

Proposed Application Requirements:

  • Obtain a City Regulatory Permit
  • State License
  • City Operational Agreement

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