Cannabis dispensary to be considered by Nevada City Council |

Cannabis dispensary to be considered by Nevada City Council

The Nevada City Council will consider a cannabis dispensary application on Wednesday.
Liz Kellar/ |

Know & Go

What: Nevada City Council meeting

When: Today, 6:30 p.m.

Where: City Hall, 317 Broad St., Nevada City

Special meeting Thursday

In other Nevada City Council news, a special council meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday to consider the acquisition of a 32-acre site with open space and city trail opportunities.

The meeting will start at City Hall and will travel to the area in question where folks will be able to get a feel for the site on foot. Carpooling to the site is encouraged.

Nevada City could be the site of the first medical marijuana dispensary in the county as soon as February, if council members choose to move forward with the issue at their meeting today.

There are many steps the city would have to take, though, before medicinal cannabis users could walk away from a city storefront with their medication. Those steps include drafting an ordinance, with the help of the city’s Planning Commission, that would essentially repeal the current ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, and lay the groundwork to allow and regulate the medical marijuana business.

Nevada City’s change of heart follows an Aug. 25 strategic planning workshop where council members directed staff to research the possibility of allowing one medical marijuana dispensary to be located within the city.

“The outcome was having the city consider an ordinance sooner rather than later,” City Manager Mark Prestwich said Tuesday. “This is the starting point of the conversation.”

The draft ordinance, with definitions and descriptions taken from other cities that have allowed medicinal marijuana dispensaries, recognizes the healing properties of the cannabis plant and states that the “research of the therapeutic uses for medicinal marijuana continues to progress, with at least some demonstrated positive impact on users following the advisement and encouragement of their health care providers, for a variety of ailments, including severely debilitating and terminal illnesses.”

“What they have before them is a draft of what one could look like,” Prestwich said of the draft ordinance. “It reflects input from other communities, their experience in other cities, comments from police and planning departments.”

If the council moves forward with the draft ordinance, the planning commission would review the document and suggest any changes, before referring it back to the city council for approval.

Other stipulations within the draft document include a strict application process. The process would pit up to three potential applicants against each other to get the one allowed permit for a storefront. However, the staff report states that the council may allow for more dispensaries in the future if things go well with the first one.

Requirements of the draft ordinance are as follows:

• Payment of a permit fee, and all required business license fees, development fees, and applicable taxes;

• Record-keeping requirements;

• Verification of customer status as 18 and older, and with a valid medical recommendation or valid primary caregiver status.

• Security requirements such as retention of licensed security guards, security cameras, alarm system, panic buttons, and cannabis products must be securely stored to prevent loss or theft.

• No alcohol can be sold on-site.

• Operating hours are limited to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

• Cannabis or cannabis-containing products may not be consumed on the premises.

• Minors are prohibited from being on the premises in any capacity.

• Odor controlling devices and techniques must ensure that there are no odors released from the building that can be detectable off-site.

• Owner(s)/employees of the business must also obtain a permit after undergoing a background check and meeting requirements set forth in the ordinance.

• Dispensaries can not be within 600 feet of a park or school.

The municipal code will be changed to designate light industrial areas as the appropriate zone for dispensaries to locate.

The Nevada City staff are recommending the submittal of the draft ordinance to the planning commission to allow one dispensary within the city.

To contact Staff Writer Elias Funez, email or call 530-477-4230.

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