City's Planning Department Needs More Money to Finish Scoring Larger Number of Commercial Cannabis Applications Than Expected

Published : Sunday, April 28, 2019 | 3:38 PM

The City’s Department of Planning and Community Development is asking for more money to pay an independent third-party consultant currently reviewing and scoring commercial cannabis applications.

Why? Because the crop of applications came in far bigger than expected.

Pasadena’s Planning Department said it expected 60 to 70 applications for cannabis retailers, cultivators, and testing laboratories to open in Pasadena during the month-long application period from January 1 to 31 this year, but was flooded with 128.

The department earlier asked for $250,000 to pay the third-party reviewer, Hinderliter, de Llamas and Associates, based on the consultant’s submitted cost of $3,000 to review and score each application.

Monday, it goes to City Council asking for the authority to increase the contract fee to $450,000, according to an Agenda Report.

Diamond Bar-based Hinderliter, de Llamas and Associates is described by the City as a leading cannabis consulting services. It works with various jurisdictions in California, Colorado, and Nevada, providing support for regulation or ordinance preparation, application process development, application review, cannabis tax administration, and other services related to the commercial cannabis industry.

The City Council approved a contract with Hinderliter, de Llamas and Associates last December to review and score commercial cannabis applications in the City, in an amount not exceeding $250,000.

The consultant’s ongoing review and scoring is expected to be completed early next month.

Following review and scoring, the top applicants for each permit type will be invited for an interview, after the leading applicants will be identified to submit an application for a land-use approval to receive a commercial cannabis permit.

Interviews are expected to occur in June. The top-scoring applications will then go through the City’s Planning Commission, which will conduct public hearings where residents could provide comments and input for the Commission to consider before finally deciding on which businesses will be approved to operate in Pasadena.

No more than one of each type of commercial cannabis business — retail, cultivation and testing — will be allowed in any one of Pasadena’s seven Council districts. A total of up to 14 operators could be named.

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