Nevada City approves pot businesses
Nevada City will now allow medical marijuana cultivation, distribution, transportation, manufacturing and testing laboratory businesses to operate within the city.
City council unanimously approved the “Other Cannabis Businesses and Activity Ordinance” Wednesday night, two months after it voted to allow a medical cannabis dispensary.
But prospective business owners looking to operate one of the services allowed by the ordinance said they may have a tough time obtaining permits.
The ordinance, which will go into effect after a 30-day, provisional period that began Wednesday, requires a business to be licensed by the state before the city can issue it a permit to operate.
The state will begin issuing licenses on Jan. 1, but some say there will be such a high volume of applications that the process could take months — or even years. Harry Bennett, a Nevada County resident, said according to the new state regulations laid out by the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, the state will give priority to businesses that already have a local permit during the application process.
“If you don’t have an ‘okay’ from a city before Jan. 1, you’re going to have to get in line,” he said. “And who knows? It’s going to be a gold rush.”
Many echoed Bennett’s concern.
“We can’t approve it without a state license, and they can’t get a state license unless they have approval from us?” asked Mayor Evans Phelps.
City council members discussed the prospect of amending their ordinance to allow local permits to be issued before state licenses are available in 2018. Most agreed that the state regulations, which are constantly changing, are making for a confusing process.
“With so much change in regulations it is really hard to put something in writing now that isn’t going to be changed. But that is why ordinances can be amended and tweaked in the future. Overall, the city has been pretty fair and clear in their process and the ordinance reflects that,” said Maria Herrera, communications director for the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, in an email.
The council voted to approve the ordinance and agreed to discuss ways of tweaking it to address the public’s concerns about timing.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4231.
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