- Posted by Erica Treeby
- On November 21, 2016
- breaking, California, cannabis, Cannabis License, Cannabis Permit, commercial cannabis business, cultivation, dispensary, distribution, licensing, manufacturing, MCRSA, regulation, testing, zoning ordinance
The City of Desert Hot Springs isn’t new to commercial medical cannabis operations. In 2014, looking to cash in on the California green rush during a time when the city was struggling financially, Desert Hot Springs enacted local ordinances regulating medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation. Located in the Coachella Valley region, Desert Hot Springs was built over a natural hot mineral water aquifer. The city is known for its mountain views and desert landscape, as well as more recently, for its acceptance of commercial medical marijuana cultivation sites. In fact, the City was the first in Southern California to permit large-scale commercial cultivation of medical cannabis.
In October 2014, the City’s legislators passed Ordinance Nos. 552 and 553, which required medical cannabis facilities to obtain both a Conditional Use Permit and a Regulatory Permit. On September 20, 2016, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 585, which amended the zoning regulations for medical cannabis facilities as set forth in Chapter 17.180 of the Desert Hot Springs Municipal Code.
Under Chapter 17.180 of the City Code, medical marijuana dispensaries that obtain the applicable permits and cultivate no more than 99 mature flowering plants on-site may be located in any Commercial District in the City. Upon issuance of Conditional Use and Regulatory Permits, medical marijuana cultivation facilities involving the cultivation of more than 99 mature flowering marijuana plants may be located in any zoning district designated Industrial. Outdoor cultivation is not permitted under this chapter of the City Code. Per the recent amendment to Chapter 17.180, medical cannabis testing and distribution facilities are similarly restricted to the City’s Industrial district, and must be located indoor.
Medical cannabis manufacturing facilities are also limited to the Industrial district. If the property is raw land, applicants are required to obtain a Development Agreement along with the applicable city permits. Manufacturing facilities with a state license classification of a Type 6 (using non-volatile solvents) and Type 7 (using volatile solvents) are allowed. Additionally, the licensee must either employ or contract with a person who has a Ph.D. in chemical sciences, who will be tasked with supervision of the design and operation of the facility’s manufacturing process.
With a variety of options for cultivation size and permit quantity, Desert Hot Springs has proven to be an attractive location for large commercial medical cannabis businesses; and, with the recent amendment to the City’s Municipal Code, which permits manufacturing, testing and distribution facilities, the City’s cannabis industry is likely to flourish.
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