Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jan 2017
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2017 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Peter Hecht


The city of Sacramento soon may begin accepting applications from
businesses wanting to cultivate marijuana.

A City Council committee this week voted to lift Sacramento's moratorium
on commercial cannabis cultivation. The action means that aspiring
marijuana businesses would be able to apply for cultivation permits
beginning April 2 under a new ordinance that could position the capital
city as regional hub for commercial pot production.

The council in November voted 5-3 to allow licensed recreational or
medical marijuana cultivation in city limits under state rules governing
the marijuana industry. But it is unlikely that the city will be issuing
actual permits for cultivation businesses until months after the
application period opens.

"This was a logistical step we needed to take to move on," said City
Council member Jay Schenirer after the council's Law and Legislation
Committee on Tuesday set a date for the application period to begin. The
committee's action still needs to be approved by the full council.

Schenirer said city officials still need to establish permit fees and
requirements, an action that is expected in February, before being able to
review applications on a "first come, first served basis" and begin
granting business permits three to four months after that.

About 200 cultivators, many already be operating, previously registered
with the city in the hopes of getting a formal permit. They will have to
apply with all other applicants and meet zoning requirements that will
allow marijuana growing in enclosed buildings in warehouse, light
industrial and limited commercial zones located more than 600 feet from

In a related action, the council committee also advanced a plan that could
allow certain people with criminal convictions for marijuana offenses to
be issued marijuana business licenses.

Under the plan, still to be approved by the City Council, people with past
marijuana convictions could seek a hearing with the city manager's office
to obtain permission for a business permit. The plan would prohibit
marijuana business licenses from being given to anyone with a violent
felony, gang-related crime or a marijuana conviction involving minors.

"My belief is that the council wants to be as open as possible to allow
folks who have been in this (marijuana) industry, but maybe not legally,
to be able to transition into the legal industry," Schenirer said.

The Sacramento plan is more conservative than a permitting program
approved in Oakland. That city's "equity permit program," described as
reparations for marijuana prohibition policies, gives special permit
consideration to Oakland residents incarcerated in the past 10 years for
marijuana convictions in the city.
- ---
MAP posted-by: