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Cannabis Public Hearing Canceled

Unknown when item will return for City Council consideration

Published on Monday, April 26, 2021 | 5:00 am

A scheduled public hearing on amendments to the city’s cannabis regulation ordinance was pulled from the agenda ahead of Monday’s City Council meeting.

“Proposed zoning code amendment to the city’s cannabis regulations — public hearing is canceled and will not be discussed,” according to Monday’s agenda.

The City Council voted on Monday to table a public hearing on amendments to the city’s changes to the city’s cannabis ordinance that would shorten the distance dispensaries must maintain from schools, libraries and churches from 1,000 feet to 450 feet and allow more than one dispensary per council district.

The decision to table the hearing came after a request by Councilman John Kennedy.

“This matter affects my district more than any other in the district,” Kennedy said.

According to the original ordinance, only one dispensary could be placed in each City Council district.

Two dispensaries, Atrium and Sweetflower, which did not advance beyond the city’s selection process, applied for conditional use permits in District 3.

If those businesses were allowed back in the process, they could join an additional one resulting in three dispensaries in the district represented by Kennedy.

However, with redistricting on the horizon, those district boundary lines could change, leading to one or some of the dispensaries ending up in another City Council district.

It was not known when the item would come back before the council. This is the second time that the item has been tabled.

Of the six cannabis dispensaries approved in the city’s process, only two, Integral and Tony Fong, have opened for business.

A third company, Harvest, received a conditional use permit but so far has not opened.

Integral, Tony Fong, Harvest, Sweetflower, Atrium and MedMen successfully wended their way through the city’s $14,000 application process which was set up after voters overwhelmingly approved Measure CC.

Several companies, including Sweetflower and Atrium, attempted to sue amid charges of wrongdoing. The city hired an outside investigator to look into myriad charges, including one that the city added a licensed surveyor certification requirement to the cannabis application to benefit one applicant.

“We did not find any evidence that the Planning Department intended to unfairly advantage any of the top six applicants or that there was any misconduct by the staff in connection with the Cannabis CUP Application Process,” according to documents released by the city last week.

Measure CC, which allows up to six dispensaries to operate in Pasadena, passed with 63 percent of the vote in 2018. The ordinance also allowed the council to retain the authority to amend existing ordinances and adopt future ordinances regarding commercial cannabis business activities.

The council placed the measure on the ballot after initially voting down an ordinance that would have allowed the sale of cannabis, but did an about-face when cannabis supporters began making efforts to get a measure on the ballot that could have allowed an unlimited number of dispensaries to operate in Pasadena.

But based on distance locations in the city’s ordinance and available locations, city officials later estimated only three dispensaries would probably open.

MedMen was disqualified following a city investigation.

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