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City Council Passes First Reading of Ordinance Extending Deadline for Cannabis Retailers to Secure Permits

Published on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | 5:51 am

During its meeting on Monday, the City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance that will amend the Municipal Code to extend the period in which cannabis retailers must obtain permits from 36 months to 48 months.

The ordinance was approved by a vote of 6-1. Councilmember Felicia Williams voted no. Councilmember John Kennedy was absent.

On June 5, 2019, six top-ranking cannabis applicants were selected by the city via the process outlined in the Pasadena Municipal Code, among a pool of 122 applicants for the retailer category. One of the six was later disqualified, leaving only five applicants.

According to the Municipal Code, applicants must secure a cannabis permit until June 5 or within 36 months or after the city notified them that they have been selected. If they fail to comply within said period, “their ability to obtain a cannabis permit shall terminate.”

To date, four of the five top cannabis retailers namely: Varda, Essence, Harvest and Sweet Flower have opened dispensaries. The fifth applicant, Atrium, is yet to submit an application for a Conditional Use Permit, but is actively seeking to secure a site.

According to a staff report, the 12-month extension should be allowed in order to “preserve the rights of Atrium so that they do not expire.”

Staff noted in its report that Atrium is having difficulty securing a site that is code compliant. Some landlords are also unwilling to lease their building for cannabis uses.

“Extending the time period to obtain a cannabis permit will afford Atrium an opportunity to find a location that is code compliant under the new rules, submit the appropriate applications to the City and secure the requisite Cannabis Permit,” the staff report read.

The extension will also apply to other categories of cannabis applicants, namely laboratories and cultivators, according to the staff report.

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