- Posted by Erica Treeby
- On November 17, 2016
- breaking, California, cannabis, Cannabis License, Cannabis Permit, cultivation, delivery, dispensary, MCRSA, medical cannabis, permit, regulation, testing, zoning ordinance
The City of Palm Springs, like its neighbor, Desert Hot Springs, has had progressive regulations for medical cannabis operations in place for the last several years. The Comprehensive Medical Cannabis Regulatory Program, codified at Chapter 5.35 of the City’s Municipal Code, mandates that a city-issued permit be obtained prior to engaging in any commercial medical marijuana activities, including cultivating, possessing, selling, distributing, and dispensing of medical cannabis.
Currently, the Code defines two types of permitted medical marijuana businesses: (1) Medical Cannabis Cooperatives and Collectives (“MCCCs”), defined as five or more qualified patients and caregivers who collectively or cooperatively cultivate and share physician-recommended cannabis in a manner strictly consistent with the State Guidelines; and (2) Medical Cannabis Cultivation Facility (“MCCF”), defined as a fully enclosed building or portion of a building that is solely used for the purpose of planting, growing, harvesting, drying, processing, or storage of cannabis plants.
Last year, as part of the adoption of Ordinance Nos. 1876 and 1879, the City Council increased the number of available MCCC permits from four to six. Currently, no more than six permitted MCCCs may be maintained or operated in the City at any time. (Chapter 5.35.120). In order to be considered for a permit, applicants must meet the requirements set forth in the Code relating to background check, security plan, building review, and zoning. Mobile marijuana dispensaries are expressly prohibited unless operated by a permitted MCCC. (Chapter 5.35.500). Chapter 93.23.15 of the City’s Zoning Code prohibits a MCCC from being located within 250 feet of Palm Canyon Drive or any residential zone property; or within 500 feet of a school, public playground or park, child or day care facility, youth center, or religious institution. MCCCs are permitted in the following zoning districts: General Commercial, Highway Commercial, Planned Research and Development Park, and Airport.
Similar to nearby Desert Hot Springs, the City’s commercial cultivation regulations do not place any restrictions on garden size or plant quantity. Cultivation of medical cannabis at a MCCC location is allowed. Additionally, each permitted MCCC may operate and maintain one MCCF at its location, subject to the requirements of the City’s Zoning Code, along with two additional MCCFs. Sales or distribution of medical cannabis at MCCFs are strictly prohibited. (Chapter 5.35.340). MCCFs are permitted in the Commercial Manufacturing, Planned Research and Development Park, Service/Manufacturing, Manufacturing, Energy/Industrial, and Airport zoning districts.
With a focus on the health and safety of its citizens, Palm Springs requires laboratory testing for medical marijuana sold or distributed at its dispensaries. Chapter 5.35.710 of the Code allows the City to perform random tests on cannabis or cannabis infused products sold to patients at local MCCCs. Similarly, AB 266, one the three bills that make up California’s Medical Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act, also mandates testing of all medical cannabis prior to it being sold to patients.
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