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Cannabis Businesses Applications Will Be Accepted by City of San Luis Obispo

Post Date:12/20/2018 9:00 AM

Those wishing to open cannabis businesses in the City of San Luis Obispo can begin applying for a business license and permit beginning January 7, 2019. Last month, the City Council approved the fee structure and application criteria to allow for cannabis businesses to operate in the City. This followed voter approval of a cannabis business tax by 80 percent, which was necessary before the previously approved zoning ordinances could take effect. 

Since the passage of Proposition 64 (Adult Use of Marijuana Act) by California voters in 2016, City staff has engaged with the community to identify the locations where various business types are allowed as well as overall standards to apply to cannabis business operations. 

In order to choose the most qualified operators, the City Council and staff established an application and approval process for individuals or groups wishing to operate cannabis businesses in the City. 

Applications can be submitted from January 7 to 29, 2019, and will be ranked via a point system. There is a limit of three retail storefront permits, and cultivation is capped at 70,000 square feet, with no one business being larger than 10,000 square feet. There is no limitation on permits for manufacturing, distribution, testing and non-storefront retail (delivery only). Once an operator permit is issued, a land use permit for specific business sites will also be needed. 

Applications for operator permits will require a substantial amount of information to be provided and reviewed by City staff. Depending on the type of business, the following information will need to be supplied: 

  • A business operations plan including projected costs of location from application through opening, state licenses, tax compliance, insurance, budget, financial capacity and a product list
  • Site and floor plans for each level of each building that makes up the business site
  • Detailed safety and security plan including hazardous materials management plan
  • Documentation that the business has identified reliable and efficient energy solutions
  • Information demonstrating the site has a sufficient water supply for the use and how wastewater will be minimized
  • Plan describing how the applicant will prevent odors from escaping the business site that are generated from the cultivation manufacturing and storage of cannabis
  • Information about the business’ commitment to local hiring, sourcing and community support
  • Plan describing the type of cannabis education and prevention efforts that will be provided by the business to the community

The application fee will be $22,519, but most businesses are only required to submit a deposit of $7,431 with the balance due once an operator permit is issued. Annual permit fees range from $65,890 to $90,575. Fees are designed to cover 100 percent of the City’s costs. Costs related to administration and enforcement of the regulations include activities by City Administration, public safety, finance, City Attorney, police, fire and code enforcement. Active enforcement is a best practice to ensure regulatory requirements are met for this new, fast changing industry. Oversite includes operations monitoring, training, education, and inspections among other activities to encourage strict regulatory compliance.

More information about cannabis business operations in the City can be found at here.

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