The Santa Monica City Council is set to vote to extend its marijuana regulations as dispensaries that have not been allowed to open in the city appeal the permitting process.
Santa Monica’s marijuana ordinance, which was passed a few months after recreational marijuana was legalized statewide, allows only medical marijuana dispensaries and some medical marijuana manufacturing. The October 2017 regulations permit two dispensaries in the city, neither of which have opened. City staff is asking City Council to vote Tuesday to extend the current regulations through January 2023 until the permitting issues that have prevented the dispensaries from opening have been resolved.
Dispensaries can only open along a two-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard from Lincoln Boulevard to city limits or on Santa Monica Boulevard between Lincoln and 20th Street or between 23rd Street and Centinela Avenue.
The shops may not be within 600 feet of a school, daycare, park, library, social services center or the other cannabis business.
Opening a dispensary costs $21,379. The conditional use permit costs $19,257.25, the annual dispensary permit costs $1,822.10 and the business license costs $109.41. Other fees total $191.
Staff said in a report that they anticipated the permit process for the two permitted dispensaries would be completed by April 2020, when the current regulations are set to expire.
In August 2018, the city announced that 21 applicants had been deemed qualified to be considered for one of the two medical marijuana permits. Officials have since ranked the top two applicants based on their business experience and the details of their proposed operations, staff said.
But staff said the businesses appealed the city’s ranking. The appeals will not be resolved until early next year and Santa Monica may not see a dispensary open until 2021 or 2022.
Additionally, the city has issued one license for the light manufacturing of medical marijuana, according to the staff report. Light manufacturing includes the production of marijuana-based lotions or edibles without a retail storefront.
In October 2017, staff said they were considering allowing recreational marijuana after the two medical dispensaries open.