Cannabis Knowledge & Insights

Weekly Cannabis Licensing Update – July 22

As heat waves hit across the country, here are the hottest cannabis news headlines from cities in California.

If you have any questions about these city council meeting updates, please get in touch with our experts. 

San Bernardino, California

San Bernardino’s City Council amended their zoning restrictions affecting all commercial cannabis businesses to read as follows: 

“The parcel shall be no closer than six hundred (600) feet of any residentially zoned parcel in the City, the City’s sphere of influence, a neighboring incorporated city, or unincorporated county.”

While this amendment doesn’t change anything in particular, it does clarify and reaffirm the city’s zoning plan as it relates to land use within commercial and industrial zones, while protecting San Bernardino’s residential zones. San Bernardino made headlines earlier this year when the city was sued for irregularly applying zoning laws during the application review process. 

According to the lawsuit, “businesses had to obtain from the Community Development Department approved zoning verification letters, which say, in short, the proposed business is at least 600 feet away from schools, parks, youth centers and other sensitive uses of land. And yet, despite being denied such letters for their proximity to those facilities, certain applicants – and eventual licensees – continued through the process.” 

Benicia, California

Benicia, California’s City Council adopted new regulations related to the Cannabis Public Safety License and Use Permit application process. 

In 2018, Benicia closed their application window for two cannabis retail businesses and one cannabis microbusiness. The city received nine cannabis retail applications and no microbusiness applications. The City Council Planning Commission began the process of ranking the nine retail applicants on June 18, 2019 to be completed within 60 days. 

According to Benicia’s application procedure, the applicant receiving the highest ranking could schedule a pre-application meeting and apply for a Use Permit within 60 days. Following this one-time competitive process for retail and exhaustion of the eligibility list, each subsequent application will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis. 

However, this week’s news reports that the Planning Commission is considering limiting the number of cannabis retail licenses to one, instead of two. The City Council also moved to expand the buffer of sensitive land use for future retail cannabis applicants. The Planning Commission will also consider the ranking of the nine retail cannabis applications on August 8, 2019.

Los Angeles, California

Finally, some reminders for applicants in Los Angeles: the deadline to register for Social Equity Program Verification is on July 29, 2019. 

As a reminder, you must complete the verification process in order to be considered under the Social Equity Program and  participate in priority processing of LA’s Phase 3 retail and delivery licensing window. Social Equity Program Eligibility Verification is FREE and you do not have to pay any fees to DCR to be verified. 

The DCR also issued some clarification for potential applicants going through the Eligibility Verification Process. Phase 3 Type 10 retailer applicants ARE subject to the requirement that their business premises be outside of a 700-foot radius from another licensed retailer. If you have questions regarding this commercial cannabis regulation, please speak to one of our experts. 

Make sure you meet the July 29 deadline by applying to be verified as a Social Equity applicant on the city’s website: