Tonight Commission Considers Changing Cannabis Ordinance to Allow More Than One Retailer per District, Closer Locations

Published : Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | 6:01 AM

The City Planning Commission will consider proposed changes to Pasadena’s cannabis ordinance would permit more than one dispensary per City Council District and reduce the distance separating such stores from 1000 feet to 450 feet at its meeting tonight.

The amendments were forwarded to the Commission by City Manager Steve Mermell.

The ordinance’s cap of six dispensaries citywide would remain unchanged as would the prescribed distance buffers between dispensaries and churches, schools and residential neighborhoods.

Staff has recommended the Planning Commission sign-off on the proposed zoning changes and send the matter onto the full City Council.

Measure CC was passed by voters in Nov. 2018. An ensuing application process that yielded some $14,000, from 122 different aspirants to a marijuana retail outlet, yielded six winners.

Things got sticky when three of them envisioned their dispensaries within one District.

Harvest of Pasadena got their application in first, which was the telling stroke. Atrium Group was then faced with the termination of its bid, because it vied for a Council District secured by the earlier applicant.

Another survivor of the application gauntlet, Sweet Flower of Pasadena, had its request for a conditional use permit rejected because it didn’t use a licensed surveyor for the map in its submission. Presumably, Sweet Flower’s application would have been denied anyway, given that it also filed for a Council District 3 location after Harvest.

Atrium filed a lawsuit in federal court saying its right to due process under the U.S. Constitution had been violated. Sweet Flower appealed to the City, but did not prosper.

The City Manager’s proposed changes could possibly revive the prospects of both spurned applicants, Atrium and Sweetflower likely make the former’s lawsuit moot.

“This is a fair and equitable solution to the lack of suitable space under present regulations while preserving all of the protections for neighborhoods and sensitive uses,” Mermell said.

The Planning Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers at Pasadena City Hall, 100 North Garfield Avenue.

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