An ordinance authorizing the retail sale of cannabis for adult use now only needs the approval of Napa City Council to become active in the city of Napa.
The city’s planning commission voted 4-0 on Thursday – in the absence of Commissioner Gordon Huether – to recommend that Napa City Council approve an amendment to the city’s Cannabis Ordinance that would allow the sale of cannabis products for customers 21 years of age or older.
The amendment would come into effect 30 days after city council approval. City council has already voted 4-1 – with only council member Liz Alessio opposing it – to ask staff to prepare the amendment in October.
A discussion on updating the city’s cannabis ordinance was prioritized as a policy goal by city council in March this year.
Only medical sales of cannabis are currently permitted in the city. This means that customers need a doctor-approved medical card to purchase cannabis products at any of the city’s six dispensaries.
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Most California residents – 57% statewide and 61% of Napa residents – voted to legalize recreational cannabis use in the state in 2016. But most California cities still do not allow sales aimed at adults.
Two representatives from cannabis retailers told the city’s planning commission that opening adult sales would significantly boost business and bring increased tax revenue to the city.
Caity Maple, Perfect Union’s vice president of government affairs – and 2022 Sacramento City Council candidate – said at the meeting that Perfect Union worked with the city of Marysville a few years ago to create an ordinance at the adult use, which was added to the existing city ordinance on medical use. The result, she said, was a huge increase in sales for the company’s location in Marysville.
“What’s really amazing is that we have tripled our sales in just a few months,” Maple said. “It was a big benefit for the city, it was a big benefit for us too, and we think it benefits the community.”
Aimee Henry, one of the owners of the Napa Cannabis Collective, agreed with Maple. She said allowing adult sales will really benefit customers – including tourists who might not be aware of Napa’s cannabis regulations – because they won’t have to acquire a use card. medical or to another nearby town.
“Right now it’s just a silly barrier that people have to get a medical referral because all products are the same and everything they have access to is the same,” Henry said.
Henry said Napa Cannabis Collective currently had around 300 to 500 customers during the month. If adult use is permitted, it expects that number to increase to 1,500 customers over the same period.
“We definitely have pent-up demand,” Henry said. “We plan to submit our candidacy in the following days, as soon as it is adopted by the municipal council.”
Much of the planning committee’s discussion centered on a request for a 2-year moratorium on any new adult-use cannabis retail demand from a coalition of five of Napa’s medical cannabis retailers: Napa Cannabis Collective, Harvest House of Cannabis, Perfect Union, Herbivore et abode.
Although most council members have expressed that they are not interested in adopting the proposed moratorium at the October meeting, two commissioners expressed support for a similar moratorium at Thursday’s meeting.
Henry said a moratorium would give the city time to decide whether or not to adopt a cap on the number of dispensaries. The letter from the coalition that originally called for the moratorium says it would also give current cannabis retailers a chance to stabilize financially following the economic hardships they faced during the pandemic.
“Our thought process was to give the city time, to give us time to catch up with the market, and then that also allows for commentary and public observation to give an idea of if you want to put a cap in place. later and how much that cap should be if you decide to do it, ”Henry said.
Commission President Paul Kelley and Commissioner Bob Massaro have said they support the recommendation for a one-year moratorium. But the other commissioners opposed the recommendation because they said the market should determine how business is done.
Massaro has said he supports the moratorium as a control over cannabis retailers and the evolving adult cannabis situation in the city.
“Right now, I just have the feeling that, let’s see what happens; let’s make sure it works, ”Massaro said.
A vote to recommend the moratorium fell to a 2-2.
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You can reach Edward Booth at (707) 256-2213.