During its meeting on Monday, June 13, the City Council passed the second reading of the ordinance that will amend the Municipal Code to extend the period in which cannabis retailers must obtain a permit from 36 months to 48 months.
The motion passed 6-1. Councilmember Felicia Williams voted against approval. Vice-Mayor Andy Wilson, the councilmember who introduced the ordinance, was absent.
In effect, the ordinance will give cannabis retailer Atrium until June 2023 to secure a cannabis permit necessary to be able open a dispensary within the city.
In June 2019, the city named Atrium among the six cannabis retailers allowed to secure cannabis permits to operate in the city, 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 have secured a cannabis permit by June 5, 2022 or within 36 months after the city notified them that they have been selected.
If they failed to comply within that timeframe, their ability to obtain a cannabis permit will be terminated.
To date, four of the five top cannabis retailers namely: Varda, Essence, Harvest and Sweet Flower have opened their respective dispensaries.
Atrium, which is the fifth applicant, is yet to submit an application for a Conditional Use Permit, but is actively seeking to secure a site.
A sixth cannabis operator, MedMen was removed from the process.
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.
“This extension takes into effect the difficulty that at least one cannabis retailer applicant has had in finding a compliant site due to the originally very restrictive distance separation requirements between retailers, which Council later amended, but additional time was still necessary,” the ordinance fact sheet read.