WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville City Council on Tuesday will provide direction on major proposed modifications to the City’s cannabis laws, including the possible addition of multiple dispensaries.

According to the staff report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting, the City is recommending the addition of two retail licenses as well as two “stand alone” distribution licenses, six manufacturing licenses and an unlimited amount of testing licenses for cannabis businesses.

Currently, the City allows six cultivation and nine manufacturing licenses. It has also issued distribution licenses to some of those 15 cultivation and manufacturing businesses.

The City is also looking to increase the maximum square footage for cultivation from 5,000 square feet to 22,000—the maximum allowed by state law—and lower the taxes for nurseries and retail. The tax on nurseries and immature grows would fall from $20 per square foot to $1, and the tax for retail would drop from 10 percent gross receipts to 5 percent.

Staff is also recommending the Council allow retail, cultivation and manufacturing businesses deliver their products within city limits, and allow dispensaries to set up in zones deemed Thoroughfare Commercial, Neighborhood Shopping Center and Visitor Commercial Zoning Districts. These zones are mostly located on Main Street (outside of downtown), Freedom Boulevard and Green Valley Road, according to staff.

Staff will take Council’s input—and that of the public—on the changes and prepare a draft ordinance for presentation at the Planning Commission’s Dec. 3 meeting. The Council will not make a decision on the ordinance until early 2020.

The presentation will happen during the Council’s 4:30 p.m. session.

Council members will return to the chambers at 6:30 p.m. to make a decision or give direction on four other items:

  • Call the election for the renewal of an updated version of Measure G, the half-cent sales tax passed by voters in 2014 that raised roughly $4 million for the police and fire departments every year.
  • Provide recommendations for the City’s Complete Streets to School Plan, now called the “Safe Routes to School Plan,” which aims to ensure children stay safe on their way to and from the City’s 15 schools.
  • Decide whether to enact a ban on no-fault evictions until the end of the year in response to the passing of Assembly Bill 1482, also known as the Tenant Protection Act of 2019.
  • Make a final decision on multiple building and housing codes so that the City will match the state-mandated California Health and Safety Code, which is updated every three years.

For the full agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting click here.

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