City of Santa Cruz
Regulations for Marijuana Related Commercial Activity
Santa Cruz (/ˈsæntə ˈkruːz/, Spanish: Holy Cross) is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California. As of 2013 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Santa Cruz’s population at 62,864.
Situated on the northern edge of Monterey Bay, about 32 mi (51 km) south of San Jose and 75 mi (120 km) south of San Francisco, the city is part of the 12-county San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area.
Santa Cruz is known for its moderate climate, natural environment, coastline, redwood forests, alternative community lifestyles, and socially liberal leanings. It is also home to the University of California, Santa Cruz, a premier research institution and educational hub, as well as the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an oceanfront amusement park operating continuously since 1907.
The present-day site of Santa Cruz was the location of Spanish settlement beginning in 1791, including Mission Santa Cruz and the pueblo of Branciforte. Following the Mexican–American War of 1846–48, California became the 31st state in 1850. The City of Santa Cruz was incorporated in 1866 and chartered in April 1876. Important early industries included lumber, gunpowder, lime and agriculture. Late in the 19th century, Santa Cruz established itself as a beach resort community.
24.22.539 MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROVIDER ASSOCIATION DISPENSARIES.
A nonresidential occupancy that is limited to the cultivation, production, acquisition and dispensing of medical marijuana and further by the siting criteria, performance standards and conditions of approval imposed on each establishment by the zoning board and zoning administrator, pursuant to Sections 24.08.040 and 24.12.1300. In addition, this use shall not be permitted as an accessory use to any other principal, special, or conditional use, nor may it be permitted as a home business, within any district of the city.
(Ord. 2010-08 § 1 (part), 2010: Ord. 2000-12 § 7, 2000).
5.07.050 PAYMENT OF TAX DOES NOT AUTHORIZE UNLAWFUL BUSINESS.
(A) The payment of a business tax required by this chapter, and its acceptance by the city, shall not entitle any person to carry on any cannabis business unless the person has complied with all of the requirements of this code and all other applicable laws, nor to carry on any cannabis business in any building or on any premises in the event that such building or premises are situated in a zone or locality in which the conduct of such cannabis business is in violation of any law.
(B) No tax paid under the provisions of this chapter shall be construed as authorizing the conduct or
continuance of any illegal or unlawful business, or any business in violation of any ordinance of the city.
(Ord. 2014-15 § 1 (part), 2014).
5.07.070 AMOUNT OF BUSINESS TAX OWED.
(A) Every person engaged in cannabis business in the city shall pay a business tax at a rate of up to ten percent of gross receipts. The tax under this chapter shall not be imposed on cannabis businesses unless and until the city council, by ordinance, takes action to set a tax rate not to exceed ten percent of gross receipts.
(B) Notwithstanding the maximum tax rate of ten percent of gross receipts imposed under subsection (A), the city council may, in its discretion, at any time by ordinance, implement a lower tax rate for all cannabis businesses or establish differing tax rates for different categories of cannabis businesses, as defined in such ordinance, subject to the maximum rate of ten percent of gross receipts. The city council may, by ordinance, also increase any such tax rate from time to time, not to exceed the maximum tax rate of ten percent of gross receipts established under subsection (A).
(C) Pursuant to subsection (A), the cannabis business tax is set at seven percent of gross receipts. Commencing on the operative date of this chapter, every person engaged in cannabis business in the city shall pay a cannabis business tax at the rate of seven percent of gross receipts.
(Ord. 2014-15 § 1 (part), 2014).
5.07.080 PAYMENT – TIME LIMITS.
The business tax imposed by this chapter shall be due and payable as follows:
(A) Each person owing a tax under this chapter shall, on or before the last day of each calendar month, prepare a tax statement to the administrator of the total gross receipts and the amount of tax owed for the preceding calendar month. At the time the tax statement is filed, the full amount of the tax owed for the preceding calendar month shall be remitted to the administrator.
(B) All tax statements shall be completed on forms provided by the administrator.
(C) Tax statements and payments for all outstanding taxes owed the city are immediately due to the
administrator upon cessation of business for any reason.
(Ord. 2014-15 § 1 (part), 2014).
6.90.020 RECOGNIZED STATUS OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROVIDER ASSOCIATIONS, QUALIFIED PATIENTS AND PRIMARY CAREGIVERS.
3. The city of Santa Cruz shall recognize valid growing certificates issued by recognized medical marijuana provider associations. The possession of a validly issued growing certificate shall evidence the determination by the recognized medical marijuana provider association that the cultivator in possession of the certificate is cultivating marijuana solely for medical marijuana purposes, at no profit to the cultivator and in quantities that correspond directly to the medical needs of the qualified patient(s) to whom the medical marijuana will be provided. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the cultivator may be entitled to require compensation for the medical marijuana produced by the cultivator in the amount necessary for the cultivator to recover the cultivator’s marijuana production costs including reasonable hourly cost of labor. A cultivator’s marijuana cultivation permitted under this section may not in any manner be associated with the illicit or illegal cultivation of other marijuana. A qualified patient or the qualified patient’s primary caregiver shall only be entitled to cultivate and produce medical marijuana for the qualified patient’s use.
6.90.040 PERMISSIBLE MEDICAL MARIJUANA CULTIVATION.
1. All cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes performed by persons in possession of a growing certificate shall be lawful and shall in no way be subject to criminal prosecution when said cultivation is conducted solely for the personal medical purposes of qualified patients in accordance with California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5. Such lawful cultivation may include the cultivation and possession of both female and male plants at all stages of growth, clones, seedlings, and seeds, and related cultivation equipment and supplies. Medical marijuana provider associations, qualified patients, primary caregivers and cultivators in possession of a valid growing certificate may cultivate individually and/or collectively.
2. The rental, leasing or providing of equipment or space utilized for cultivation, processing or storage of medical marijuana cultivated in accordance with this section shall be deemed lawful.
(Ord. 2000-06 § 1 (part), 2000).
Current municipal codes for the City of Santa Cruz do not clarify specifically whether cannabis manufacturing is “banned” or “approved”. Future policy will likely expand to clarify manufacturing regulations for the City of Santa Cruz leading up to the availability of state licensing in 2018.
6.90.020 RECOGNIZED STATUS OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROVIDER ASSOCIATIONS, QUALIFIED PATIENTS AND PRIMARY CAREGIVERS.
1. The city of Santa Cruz shall recognize the status of an individual as a qualified patient when he/she is in possession of a California licensed physician’s written recommendation for medical marijuana or where he/she is in possession of a California licensed physician’s written declaration or confirmation that he/she is currently under the physician’s care for any of those certain medical conditions listed under the definition of “qualified patient” in accordance with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and for which the use of medical marijuana has been approved by the physician. The individual’s possession of a certified valid identification card issued pursuant to subsection (2) shall presumptively establish the existence of the requisite written physician’s recommendation or diagnosis and the individual’s right to acquire medical marijuana from a medical marijuana provider association.
2. In order to ensure that qualified patients are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction, recognized medical marijuana provider associations may issue valid identification cards to qualified patients and primary caregivers upon receipt of a physician’s written recommendation for medical marijuana or upon the physician’s written declaration or confirmation that the qualified patient is under the physician’s care for any of those certain medical conditions listed under the definition of “qualified patient” and for which the use of medical marijuana has been approved by the physician. The city of Santa Cruz shall also recognize verified medical marijuana identification cards issued by local and state governmental agencies to qualified patients and primary caregivers.
4. The city of Santa Cruz shall recognize the status of a medical marijuana provider association when that association:
(a) Provides proof that its cultivators and client/participants provide, possess or cultivate medical marijuana at no cost (except to recover production costs) solely for personal medical use of qualified patients upon the written recommendation of a physician or the written declaration of a physician that the qualified patient is under the physician’s care for any of those certain medical conditions listed under this chapter’s definition of “qualified patient” and for which the use of medical marijuana has been approved by the physician;
(b) Issues identification cards and/or growing certificates to qualified patients, primary caregivers and cultivators in order to ensure that valid identification cardholders are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanctions;
(c) Has procedural safeguards in place to assure that all medical information to which it becomes privy concerning its qualified patients is maintained in confidence;
(d) Has procedural safeguards in place to assure that the identity of all qualified patients, primary caregivers, cultivators and physicians with whom it associates is maintained in confidence;
(e) Does not predicate participation by qualified patients on financial capability or any other ability to pay for association services or medical marijuana; however, the medical marijuana provider association may request that qualified patients provide, on an “ability to pay” basis, reimbursement for the actual costs of service provided to the qualified patient by the association or for the actual production cost of medical marijuana provided through the association;
(f) Requires qualified patients, primary caregivers and cultivators to produce valid proof of identification and California residency by way of either a valid California driver’s license, passport or legally cognizable identification card;
(g) Allows persons under the age of eighteen to participate as qualified patients only with the written consent of a parent or guardian and a physician’s recommendation;
(h) Strictly prohibits qualified patients from selling or distributing the medical marijuana which they receive pursuant to their participation in the association;
(i) Strictly prohibits primary caregivers and cultivators from selling the medical marijuana they receive or produce pursuant to their participation in the association, or from using the medical marijuana themselves, or from providing or distributing the medical marijuana to any person other than qualified patients;
(j) Has regulations in place which require the immediate termination of participation by a qualified patient, primary caregiver or cultivator in the association if that qualified patient, primary caregiver or cultivator misuses the services of the association, misrepresents his/her qualifications for participation in the association or otherwise violates association rules and regulations, guidelines and/or protocols;
(k) Has regulations in place limiting attendance at medical marijuana provision sites to qualified patients, primary caregivers and cultivators only;
(l) Has regulations in place prohibiting attendance at association meetings by persons other than qualified patients, primary caregivers and cultivators absent advance approval prior to the association meeting;
(m) Has regulations in place requiring its qualified patients, primary caregivers and cultivators to participate solely in conjunction with the association for medical marijuana-related services and prohibiting its qualified patients, primary caregivers and cultivators from participating in any other medical marijuana provider associations or medical marijuana buyers clubs;
(n) Has procedures and regulations in place to assure that the allotment of medical marijuana to which a qualified patient is entitled corresponds to the quantity needed to address that qualified patient’s medical symptoms and no more, and also has procedures in place to assure that said allotments are accordingly readjusted in conjunction with the improvement or deterioration of the qualified patient’s medical condition;
(o) Has procedures and regulations in place to assure that association members, be they qualified patients, primary caregivers or cultivators, are not discriminated against, and do not themselves discriminate, on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, height, weight or physical characteristic;
(p) Has articles of incorporation and by-laws in place: specifying its nonprofit operation; specifying criteria and procedures for election of board members and officers; establishing terms of office for members and officers; specifying procedures for changes to by-laws; containing a provision for an annual membership meeting; and containing provisions facilitating communication and participation by members of the medical marijuana provider association;
(q) Has a bylaw requiring a majority of the members of the board of directors to consist of individuals who are not compensated by the medical marijuana provider association, and who are not family members of compensated board members.
5. A qualified patient, primary caregiver or cultivator can claim qualified status when he/she possesses a valid identification card and/or growing certificate issued by a qualified medical marijuana provider association.
6. The city of Santa Cruz shall recognize as valid verified valid identification cards and growing certificates issued by recognized medical marijuana provider associations. The city of Santa Cruz shall recognize as valid a medical marijuana recommendation issued by a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state of California.
7. Identification cards and growing certificates issued in accordance with this chapter shall not identify the physician whose medical marijuana recommendation results in the possession, transportation or cultivation of medical marijuana; nor shall identification cards and growing certificates disclose the medical condition of any particular qualified patient.
(Ord. 2010-10 § 1, 2010: Ord. 2000-06 § 1 (part), 2000).
24.12.1300 SPECIAL USE PERMIT REQUIREMENT FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROVIDER ASSOCIATION DISPENSARIES.
1. Special Use Permit Required. Medical marijuana provider association dispensaries, as defined by Section 24.22.539, may be allowed in C-C (Community Commercial), C-T (Thoroughfare Commercial), I G (General Industrial), and IG/PER-2 Districts; provided, that they meet the siting criteria and performance standards described below and are so authorized pursuant to the procedures described in Section 24.08.040 for a special use permit. Special use permits shall be limited to no more than two dispensaries operating within the city of Santa Cruz and shall include the following conditions and operating procedures, in addition to the other requirements set forth in Sections 24.10.700 through 24.10.750 (for C-C Districts), 24.10.900 through 24.10.950 (for C-T Districts), 24.10.1500 through 24.10.1540 (for I-G Districts), and 24.10.1600 through 24.10.1620 (for IG/PER-2 Districts).
2. Siting Criteria. Applicants for a special use permit for a medical marijuana provider association dispensary must meet the following siting criteria prior to city consideration of a special use permit application:
a. The proposed location shall lie within a Community Commercial (C-C), Thoroughfare Commercial (CT), General Industrial (I-G) District, or General Industrial District/Performance District (IG/PER-2).
b. If the proposed location is located within fifty feet of any legal dwelling unit or other residential use, the applicant shall be required to demonstrate to the planning commission that the use would not create an intensity of use that is incompatible with the nearby residential use and that the association would employ security measures that would ensure that the use would not adversely affect the security and safety of the residential uses.
c. The proposed location shall not be located within six hundred feet of any residential zone district, any other medical marijuana provider association dispensary establishment, any public or private educational establishment serving persons under the age of eighteen years, a public park with a children’s playground, an alcohol or other drug abuse recovery or treatment facility, or any community care residential facility providing mental health/social rehabilitation services. For the purpose of this subsection, the six-hundred foot distance requirement shall be measured from the periphery of the property boundary of such establishments. With respect to a public park with children’s playground, the six-hundred-foot distance shall be measured from the periphery of the playground area.
d. The planning commission, or the city council on appeal, may grant an exception to the six-hundred-foot distance requirement between the medical marijuana provider association dispensary and the above referenced uses, except in the case of proximity to public educational uses, only if findings are made that the general public benefit that could be served by the issuance of the special use permit would outweigh concerns regarding intensity of use, land use compatibility and public health and safety. The burden of proof is on the applicant to demonstrate that the overall effect would be positive.
3. Performance Standards. Medical marijuana provider association dispensaries, once permitted, shall meet the following operating procedures and performance standards for the duration of the use:
a. The association shall meet all the operating criteria for the cultivation, production, acquisition and dispensing of medical marijuana as may be required of the Santa Cruz city council and police department, including security concerns, and/or the county health department or their designee.
b. The association shall meet all the operating criteria for the cultivation, production, acquisition and dispensing of medical marijuana as required by the city council’s administrative guidelines for the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries and gardens adopted pursuant to Ordinance 2000-06. (See Chapter 6.90, Personal Medical Marijuana Use.)
c. Dispensaries may possess no more dried marijuana or plants per qualified member patient or caregiver than permitted in strict accordance with state law. The area within the dispensary used for cultivation of marijuana shall be limited to no more than three thousand square feet of ADA-compliant floor area.
d. No product shall be smoked, ingested or otherwise consumed on the premises.
e. The hours of operation shall be limited to no more than 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, if located within fifty feet of a residential use, and shall be limited to no more than 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days per week, if located at a distance greater than fifty feet from a residential use.
f. Parking shall be provided according to the standard for retail pharmacy use as set forth in Section
24.12.240(aa). In addition to that requirement, whenever feasible, a passenger drop-off and pick-up parking zone shall be provided on the premises or immediately adjacent to the site. In no case shall double-parking by clients, caretakers, visitors or delivery vehicles be permitted.
g. The association shall prohibit loitering by persons outside the establishment, either on the premises or within fifty feet of the premises.
h. The association shall provide litter removal services each day of operation on and in front of the premises and, if necessary, on public sidewalks within fifty feet of the premises.
i. The association shall provide adequate security on the premises, including lighting and alarms, to ensure the safety of persons and to protect the premises from theft.
j. Exterior lighting of the parking area shall be kept at a sufficient intensity so as to provide adequate lighting for patrons, while not disturbing surrounding residential or commercial areas.
k. Signage for the establishment shall be limited to one wall sign not to exceed twenty square feet in area, and one identifying sign not to exceed two square feet in area; such signs shall not be directly illuminated.
l. The association shall provide the zoning administrator, the chief of police and all neighbors located within fifty feet of the establishment with the name, phone number and facsimile number of an on-site community relations staff person to whom one can provide notice if there are operating problems associated with the establishment. The association shall make every good faith effort to encourage neighbors to call this person to try to solve operating problems, if any, before any calls or complaints are made to the police department or the zoning administrator.
m. The association shall post a copy of the conditions of approval for the special use permit on the premises in a place where it may be readily viewed by any member of the general public.
n. The association shall meet any specific additional operating procedures and measures as may be imposed as conditions of approval by the zoning board or zoning administrator at the time of issuance of the special use permit in order to ensure that the association will be a good neighbor.
o. In addition to the required application materials, the association shall submit an operations manual to describe the operation of the facility in conformance with these performance standards and Chapter 6.90, Personal Medical Marijuana Use.
p. To offset power consumption, the association shall install solar panels to provide as much power as possible for the indoor cultivation of medical marijuana.
q. No association shall operate for profit. Cash and in-kind contributions, reimbursements, and reasonable compensation provided by members towards the association’s actual expenses for the growth, cultivation, and provision of medical marijuana shall be allowed; provided, that they are in strict compliance with state law. All such cash and in-kind amounts and items shall be fully documented and a report of such shall be submitted to the city in accordance with Chapter 6.90.
4. Findings. In approving a special use permit, it shall be determined by the hearing body that all of the following apply:
a. The proposed use complies with all of the mandatory requirements of this section and other applicable sections of this code and applicable policies of the General Plan;
b. The proposed use will not adversely affect the health, safety or welfare of area residents or businesses, or uses, or will not result in an undue concentration in any one neighborhood or district and will not be located within proximity of an incompatible use, such as a children’s school, day care facility or children’s play area;
c. The operational characteristics of the proposed use, such as hours of operation, noise, odor, amount and location of parking, signage, loitering and litter, will not have a negative impact upon the surrounding area;
d. The proposed use is compatible with the sizes and types of other neighboring uses in the surrounding area, particularly those used primarily by persons under the age of eighteen;
e. The proposed use is not located in what has been determined by the Santa Cruz police department to be a high-crime area, where a disproportionate number of police service calls occur, or where there is currently parking congestion; and
f. The proposed use, as a nonresidential occupancy, shall meet all the building code requirements for such occupancy and, if proposing to locate in a legal dwelling unit, shall comply with all local standards, requirements and provisions for converting dwelling units to nonresidential use.
5. Conditions. The planning commission, or city council on appeal, may deny any application which is inconsistent with the above-noted findings, or may impose any additional conditions on the applicant or proposed location reasonably related thereto, or to the health, safety or welfare of the community, in addition to the specific requirements set forth in this section.
6. Violations and Abatement. The zoning administrator may issue a cease and desist order or “stop order” for all activities subject to this special use permit for any establishment deemed by the zoning administrator to be in violation of any condition of approval of the special use permit or to otherwise constitute a public nuisance. The stop order shall be in effect immediately, pursuant to the procedures of Section 24.04.221. Upon issuance of the stop order, the zoning administrator shall schedule a public hearing to consider the revocation of the special use permit pursuant to Section 24.04.225.
(Ord. 2016-12 § 6, 2016: Ord. 2010-15 § 1 (part), 2010; Ord. 2010-08 § 1 (part), 2010: Ord. 2000-12 § 6, 2000).
6.90.050 TRANSPORTATION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA.
All activities entailing the transportation of medical marijuana, in accordance with the CompassionateUse Act of 1996 and this chapter, shall be lawful when conducted by qualified patients, primary caregivers or cultivators, when the quantity transported and the method, timing and distance of the transportation are reasonably related to the medical needs of the qualified patient(s).
(Ord. 2000-06 § 1 (part), 2000).
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