Wednesday, September 22, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 29

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 20th, 2021, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 22, Issue 21 [ Submit a Story ]
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Guadalupe works to establish commercial cannabis permit application criteria

By Kasey Bubnash

Guadalupe is working to flesh out the finer details of its recently passed cannabis ordinance, and although that process might take slightly longer than initially expected, potential business owners could be able to apply for cannabis business permits before the summer’s end.   

On May 25, Guadalupe City Council adopted an ordinance allowing commercial cannabis businesses. Unlike other city cannabis ordinances on the Central Coast that detail the number of cannabis retail permits allowed and criteria for permit approval, Guadalupe’s bare bones ordinance was pushed quickly through the approval process to avoid what city staff said would have been a costly and unnecessary California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review process

Guadalupe City Council is working to establish cannabis business permit application criteria after passing an ordinance allowing commercial cannabis on May 25.

Now Guadalupe is going back into the ordinance to establish various application procedures, including the criteria that will be used to vet applicants and grant commercial cannabis business permits, fees that will be charged to process applications, and the number and kinds of cannabis businesses that will be allowed to operate in the city. 

Although city staff had anticipated bringing resolutions determining such guidelines to City Council at its July 27 meeting, City Administrator Todd Bodem said it will likely take a little more time to get full approval. 

“The community is really tight here, and City Council, they all live here, and they want to make sure they’re working with ironclad, really solid businesses,” Bodem said. 

At a meeting on July 13, Guadalupe City Council discussed a proposed procedure that would create a three-phased cannabis business permit application process. In phase 1, according to a city staff report, the city would decide whether a potential applicant is even eligible to apply. In phase 2, applicants would be ranked based on criteria like proposed location, business plan, considerations of equity and diversity, safety and security, the applicant’s compatibility with neighbors, and potential community investments proposed by the applicant. Phase 3 would include a presentation and interview with City Council. 

City Council also needs to decide how much it will charge businesses to process cannabis business permit applications, although city staff estimate that such application fees will range from $8,500 to $10,000, according to the city staff report. 

Bodem said City Council suggested some minor changes to the scoring criteria at the July 13 meeting, but council members were generally in favor of the proposed three-phase approach. 

Once the application process is established, Bodem said the city will start accepting and considering applications for cannabis business permits, a process that he hopes will begin sometime around the end of August. 

City staff estimate that commercial cannabis could generate between $150,000 and $250,000 in tax revenue for Guadalupe each year, which Bodem said could be a big help to a city that has long struggled financially. 

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