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Council Tables First Reading of Amended Cannabis Ordinance – Again

Published on Monday, September 13, 2021 | 5:23 pm

The City Council once again tabled the first reading of Pasadena’s amended cannabis ordinance on Monday.

In August, the council voted to amend the ordinance to increase the number of dispensaries allowed in the city and change the distance requirements between those outlets.

But then tabled the first reading so more work could be done.

The new regulations will allow the number of cannabis retailers to increase from one to three in each of the city’s seven council districts and decrease the required distance between retailers from 1,000 feet to 450 feet.

“The decrease in separation distance and the increase of up to three sites per council district will open up additional potential sites. The cap of six permits across the city will remain, so that the absolute potential number of retailers will not increase,” according to a city staff report. “This legislation is also needed to correct an error in the distance separation from cannabis labs and other cannabis uses, to make them consistent with other similar separation requirements.”

Opponents of the new ordinance point to the lack of a social equity program.

African Americans and Latinos bore the brunt of law enforcement actions for then-illegal cannabis activities for decades, but now are being cut out of the economic advantages of selling cannabis legally in many communities.

In Pasadena, it cost $14,000 just to enter the city’s cannabis approval process, which some say kept minorities out of the process.

The city isn’t expected to consider implementing a social equity program for the cannabis trade until sometime next year.

In 2018, voters approved Measure CC, which allows a maximum of six dispensaries and requires each shop to maintain a distance from other dispensaries as well as churches, schools, libraries, and parks.

The proposed amendments would remove those distance limits by adopting requirements imposed by the state.

The city chose six dispensaries in 2019 to move forward in its process with Integral, Atrium, Sweetflower, MedMen, Harvest, and Tony Fong.

So far, only two of those dispensaries, Integral and Tony Fong, have opened. According to a staff report, Harvest has plans to open in District 3.

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