- Posted by Maria Belyi
- On March 14, 2017
- Big Sur, cannabis law, Carmel-by-the-Sea, City of Monterey, commercial cultivation, commercial medical cannabis, King City, licensing, Monterey County, Pacific Grove, Permitting, Salinas
With Monterey County’s Permissive Approach to Cannabis Cultivation, Manufacturing and Retail, Salinas and King City are Jumping on Board While the City of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea Have Prohibited Cannabis Ventures.
Cannabusiness Law took early notice of Monterey County’s progressive regulatory scheme regarding cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and retail. The county’s regulatory scheme regulates the unincorporated areas of the county. Unincorporated areas include census-designated places, such as Prunedale and Castroville, as well as areas like Big Sur.
Monterey County Ordinance 5272 addresses local permitting for medical marijuana operations within the unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance requires a commercial medical cannabis permit for the fixed location at which the medical cannabis activity will occur. Applicants must obtain the necessary land use entitlements and if the applicant is a corporation, it must list all people who have over a 10% interest in the corporation. Ordinance 5270 discusses zoning for medical cannabis uses. It states the zones within which dispensaries must be located, where cultivation may take place, addresses where manufacturing and testing may take place, and locations for facilities for transportation and distribution. Some example of the ordinance’s regulations include provisions that dispensaries must not be within 600 feet of a school or 1500 feet of another dispensary. Manufacturing using non-volatile facilities (requiring a Type-6 state license) are permitted in Heavy Commercial, Light Industrial, Heavy Industrial, Agricultural Industrial, and Farmland zoning District; while Manufacturing involving volatile processes (requiring a Type 7 license) will only be permitted in Heavy Industrial zones.
While those wanting to open up shop in unincorporated areas may open medical marijuana operations in compliance with the county ordinances, those living in cities in Monterey County must follow the rules and regulations regarding commercial cannabis of the city in which they want to operate. Some cities, like the City of Monterey, Carmel-by-the Sea, and Pacific Grove have chosen to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation and manufacturing.
On the other end of the spectrum, the city of Salinas will allow for three dispensaries, three cultivation facilities, and three commercial manufacturing businesses under its Provisions for Commercial Cannabis Activity. The dispensaries may also have a delivery service associated with them, for which they must also have a permit. Those who operate any of these businesses must obtain a permit from the City of Salinas and the State of California within a year of the ability to obtain a license under MMRSA. Employees of the dispensaries must also obtain permits from the Chief of Police–the permitting process will include fingerprints and photographs. The single existing cannabis dispensary will be allowed to continue operating as long as it is in compliance with all the regulations. The City of Salinas has received the permit applications for consideration, and will make its decision by the end of March.
Similarly, King City allows for cannabis commercial businesses, so long as they are licensed by the City of King and the State of California. While King City does not limit the amount of permits for dispensaries like Salinas, it will only allow for six cannabis manufacturing plants and limits the total cultivation in the municipality to 1,350,000 square feet. King City also prohibits retail sale of edibles, though it allows for their manufacture and wholesale sales for retail sale outside of the city.
Both King City and Salinas prohibit permitting or employing people with convictions within the last ten years for felonies or crimes of moral turpitude.
Interestingly, both cities also mandate that those obtaining permits from these cities sign an agreement indemnifying them and defending them for any damages, including federal prosecutions, associated with permitting for commercial cannabis businesses. It remains to be seen whether that is an enforceable provision.
Please contact CannaBusinessLaw for expert assistance in compliance with Cannabis licensing, permitting and the application process relating to commercial Cannabis in California.