The City Council’s Economic Development and Technology Committee on Thursday will consider potential amendments to Pasadena’s cannabis regulations.
“Given the inventory of commercial real estate that is actually available for dispensaries under the existing rules, it does not appear that there will be more than three retail dispensaries in the City,” according to a city staff report.
“Staff believes that the present situation is not in the best interest of the City, and is not in keeping with the intent of the voters who wished cannabis retailing in the City and reasonably expected there to be six cannabis retailers in the City,” the report states.
Under Measure CC, the city’s highly regulated approval process allows only six pot dispensaries, with only one permitted in each of the city’s seven council districts. The measure also requires dispensaries to maintain strict distance limits from schools, libraries, churches and residential neighborhoods.
The measure passed with 63 percent of the vote. The ordinance also allowed the council to retain the authority to amend existing ordinances and adopt future laws regarding commercial cannabis business activities.
On Monday, the City Council extended the cannabis business deadline by seven months. Although the EdTech Committee meeting was mentioned, the city’s “best interest” was not mentioned during that discussion.
A memo in the agenda outlines potential changes to the city’s regulations that would allow for more cannabis dispensaries, including revising distance separation requirements, the number of dispensaries in each City Council district, and aligning city regulations with state law.
The council placed the measure on the ballot after initially voting down an ordinance that would have allowed the sale of cannabis, but did an about-face when cannabis supporters began making plans to get a measure on the ballot that would have allowed an unlimited number of dispensaries to operate in Pasadena.
The city’s ordinance appears to be far stricter than state law.
The state only requires dispensaries be 600 feet from K-12 schools, youth centers and daycare centers.
“The City’s distance separation requirements far exceed the state requirements and were established several years ago before any legal dispensaries were operating,” according to the staff report.
“These regulations were adopted with the intent to ensure these uses would not negatively impact certain uses in the vicinity, including but not limited to: churches, parks, cultivators, testing labs, libraries, parks, properties located in a residential zoning district. In addition they are limited to one per council district,” the report states.
The city approved six top applicants to move forward in its process, Integral, Tony Fong, MedMen, Atrium, Sweetflower and Harvest. During Monday’s meeting, City Manager Steve Mermell said MedMen would not be replaced.
Of the six, only two, Integral and Tony Fong, have opened. MedMen was disqualified by Mermell, and Atrium and Sweetflower turned in incomplete applications and had their appeals denied by the City Council.