Once again, cannabis will have to come back before the City Council.
An item that would allow the City Council to authorize the city manager to suspend the deadline imposed by the Pasadena Municipal Code on top-ranking prospective cannabis merchants in order to mitigate the interruption of business caused by the response to the COVID-19 Pandemic won’t be heard on Monday due to the cancellation of Monday’s meeting.
The meeting was canceled ahead of concerns regarding a rally for Anthony McClain scheduled for 4 p.m. at City Hall.
In order to extend the deadline, the council would have to pass a resolution that would ratify the seventh supplement to the Declaration of a Local Emergency. If approved, the supplement would further extend the deadline for the top applicants in each permit category to obtain a cannabis business permit for an additional seven months, from 24 months to 31 months.
The extension applies only to top-ranking businesses that had applications pending during the city of Pasadenas local emergency to address COVID-19.
“This extension is necessary because, as a result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many City staff and members of the business community have been working remotely, making it difficult or impossible to conduct City business under certain time periods,” according to the staff report included with Monday’s agenda.
“In addition, given the restrictions on gatherings, it is difficult to conduct required meetings and hearings in a manner that allows for adequate public participation and input,” the report states. “Because of these restrictions, it may be necessary to toll certain limits of time, given the inability of City business to be fully restored during the pendency of this local emergency.”
But of the city’s six top applicants — Integral, Tony Fong, MedMen, Atrium, Sweetflower and Harvest — only one company remains in the pipeline.
Integral and Tony Fong have opened. MedMen was disqualified by Mermell, and Atrium and Sweetflower turned in incomplete applications and had their appeals denied by the City Council. All of the dispensaries successfully paid their way through the city’s $14,000 application process which was set up after voters overwhelmingly approved Measure CC in 2018.
The measure, which allows up to six dispensaries to operate in Pasadena, passed with 63 percent of the vote. 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 due to distance requirements and available locations, city officials later estimated that only three dispensaries would probably open.