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Grass Valley Council moves forward with cannabis business permitting

The Grass Valley City Council is moving forward with new cannabis rules, which could lead to the city’s first, and only, dispensary.

Community Development Director Tom Last said during this week’s council meeting that reviewing the application and permitting process for commercial cannabis will help local businesses gain legitimacy after Measure N — a marijuana business tax — was adopted in November by voters.

Last said that passing the measure approved six different types of licenses. Each license type is capped at a certain number — one commercial dispensary, one permit for delivery only services, two testing lab permits, 10 manufacturing and processing permits, two nursery permits and five distribution permits.



The council will use a two-step application process, and is considering a 90-day window to procure necessary documents.

Last calculated the application fee: $4,632.41, proposed with the intent to recoup the city’s time and resources spent on the process. Once approved, the applicant will pay an additional $2,137.60 for the formal permit.




Applications will be reviewed by city staff to ensure all necessary documents are attached, Last said, before passing it on to the Commercial Cannabis Committee.

The committee will rank and score the application based off a point system that considers the provided information as well as answers to application questions.

Last said although the tax measure and the council’s permit process review is meant to create access points, the city has a high barrier to legal cannabis ventures.

“We’’re only allowing one dispensary,” Last explained. “So if we have 10 applications come in, the one the committee approves is the only one that can apply for the formal permit and state licensing, and go through the city final permitting process.”

Last said he does not expect permitting demands to exceed the available supply.

“We’re going to assume we’re going to get 10 applications this year,” Last said, adding that Measure N’s true impact will be better assessed long term.

Last said the model follows after those in other jurisdictions, including Nevada City.

Last’s department does not yet have estimates for how much tax revenue will be generated by these new, approved businesses.

According to its website, the city will post all final application materials and application submission deadline information, pending final fee schedule approval May 11.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com.


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