Breaking News!!: Needles, CA: Needles City Council have voted unanimously to approve amending sections of the municipal and zoning codes related to adult-use marijuana businesses.

Breaking News!!: Needles, CA: Needles City Council have voted unanimously to approve amending sections of the municipal and zoning codes related to adult-use marijuana businesses.

Members of the Needles City Council have voted unanimously to approve Ordinance No.606-AC amending sections of Chapter 12A of the Needles Municipal code; and amending Section 96.01 of the Needles Zoning Code related to adult-use Marijuana Businesses.

The vote occurred during a public hearing (Agenda Item #1) at the Needles City Council Meeting held on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 for a proposed zoning ordinance amendment related to allowing adult-use marijuana businesses / sales within the city.

** Background information: **

The City currently regulates Medical Marijuana Cooperatives/Collectives, Cultivation Facilities, Manufacturing Sites, Testing Laboratories, and Distribution and Transportation Facilities within the City. However, since the City ordinance was originally adopted, the State has made significant changes to State law, requiring amendment to the Code. As a result, the City Council has directed staff to prepare certain amendments to the Marijuana ordinance, better aligning it with current State policies and regulations.

As relevant, the State originally adopted the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (codified as the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, “MMRSA”), allowing certain medical marijuana businesses to operate, pursuant to certain restrictions. Following approval of Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana (the “AUMA”), which allows adult-use businesses, among other things, the State enacted a variety of statutes and regulations in order to combine the two schemes. As a result, marijuana businesses are now permitted, with approval, to operate as adult-use businesses throughout the State.

In addition to allowing adult-use, certain license types which were originally permitted under the MMRSA, such as “Transportation”, were eliminated. Instead, a “Distributor” license is now broken down pursuant to implementing regulations into three sub-categories: (1) Distributor; (2) Distributor-Transport Only Self-Distribution; and (3) Distributor-Transport Only.

As a result of these changes, the proposed amendments will remove the restriction requiring marijuana businesses in the City to operate for medical purposes only, thereby allowing adult-use businesses; rename Cooperatives/Collectives as “Retail Marijuana Business”, given the specific medical connotations aligned with the cooperative/collective business model; and combine the Distribution Facility and Transportation Facility licenses, to correspond with the new state regulations governing medical and adult-use marijuana businesses.

In addition, the proposed ordinance amends certain provisions of the regulatory requirements for Marijuana Businesses, as explained below.

Proposed Amendments: At the request and direction of the City, the City Attorney has prepared a proposed Ordinance amending various sections of the City’s current marijuana ordinance related to the types of uses permitted. Specifically, the proposed ordinance will do the following:

  • 1. Remove the medical restriction for all marijuana businesses, as well as amend the zoning code to remove the “Medical” language, and regulations related thereto;
  • 2. Rename Rename “Cooperative/Collectives” to “Retail Marijuana Businesses”;
  • 3. Combine the Distribution/Transportation Licenses into one license type.
  • 4. Remove “Transportation Facilities” licenses from the regulatory ordinance and the permissible use table.

The Planning Commission held a meeting on June 20, 2018, to review the zoning portion of the proposed Ordinance and to make a recommendation with regard thereto. In addition to the zoning/use amendments, the proposed ordinance also amends numerous regulatory requirements and other provisions of the Marijuana ordinance.

In particular, the amendments add a delivery limit of $10,000 (consistent with State regulations); add prior revocation/suspension of a Marijuana Business license as grounds for denial of a license; clarify that all Marijuana Businesses must comply with the State’s track and trace program; amend the definition of “Owner” to better comport with the State’s definition; amend the notice requirements for inspections of premises; update certain regulations related to obtaining a state license for operation, now that the state has begun issuing such licenses, as well as update the enforcement remedies and procedures for administrative citations and issuance of fines.

Finally, the ordinance amends several provisions of the Code to refer to “Marijuana Businesses” generally, rather than specifying the different business types. This will reduce the number of amendments required each time a business type is added or eliminated by the City and/or the State.

  • Requested Action of Council:

Approve for introduction Ordinance No.606-AC amending sections of Chapter 12A of the Needles Municipal code; and amending Section 96.01 of the Needles Zoning Code related to adult-use Marijuana Businesses.

** More Information: Agenda Item #1: **

Click to access cc_062618-1-marijuana.pdf

**** More details are still coming into ZachNews. ****

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