Nevada City’s city council postpones decision on cannabis business permit renewals | TheUnion.com

Nevada City’s city council postpones decision on cannabis business permit renewals

It has been nearly a year since Nevada City began issuing cannabis business permits, authorizing 17 “entitlements” to date. Only eight of those have made it through that initial process and been issued permits to operate.

But even though the majority of the permit holders have yet to open their doors and generate any revenue, they still need to apply for a permit renewal.

What that will entail was the subject of a lengthy discussion last week by Nevada City’s city council. The issue was postponed, however, after pushback from many of the permit holders. They argued a proposed renewal process was unnecessarily onerous and expensive.

That process, as outlined by City Planner Amy Wolfson in a staff report, includes several items that were required as part of the initial permit issuance, such as written notices to property owners within 300 feet, and a “Coordination Plan” for waste management, security and delivery schedules for businesses in shared buildings.

Those requirements, as well as a $5,000 processing fee, were protested by the cannabis business owners.

Diana Gamzon of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance summarized the main issues where amendments were felt to be necessary. For one, she said, requiring updated LiveScans on a yearly basis was excessive and, she suggested, discriminatory. The yearly notice to neighbors also was excessive, she said.

Gamzon said permit renewals should not be as time-consuming as initial applications, and questioned the $5,000 cost.

“I’d look for some justification for that number,” she said.

Other issues that need to be addressed include a requirement for a coordination plan for businesses that are in the same building but do not share any common space, as well as a requirement that the business to have been in regular or continuous operation for at least four months prior to the renewal.

“Many are not operational yet,” Gamzon said, “We recommend that section be removed entirely.”

City Manager Catrina Olson said the city had found the fees it was charging for the permits were not covering costs, and added the funds generated would help pay for a much-needed compliance officer.

In the end, city council members opted to continue the discussion until their next council meeting. A provisional extension was granted to Floracy, whose permit comes up for renewal on June 5.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


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