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Watsonville
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September 26, 2022

Commission recommends marijuana manufacturing

WATSONVILLE — The Watsonville Planning Commission voiced its support Tuesday to add medical marijuana manufacturing to the city’s current cultivation ordinance.

With a unanimous vote, the commission recommended that the city council give final approval at a future meeting.

The city currently has seven permitted cultivation facilities, according to Acting Community Development Director Suzi Merriam. The proposal recommended Tuesday would allow nine manufacturing/cultivation facilities in the city, with the current seven able to apply for a permit to manufacture.

The application process would be split into four phases, according to Merriam: eligibility determination, initial ranking, second ranking and final selection at a council hearing.

Similar to cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities would be required to be located at least 600 feet from schools, libraries and parks, as well as 300 feet from residential zones.

Gina Cole of Community Prevention Partners praised city staff for addressing the group’s concerns by modifying some of the ordinance’s language.

“There was a lot of input from multiple sides, and I think it’s a pretty comprehensive ordinance,” she said.

Commissioner Rick Danna said he was happy that Watsonville will be participating in a “multibillion dollar industry.”

“This will bring lots and lots of tax revenue,” he said. “This is the future. Some people like it, some people don’t. There are a lot of sick people out there that need this medicine. We are all going to benefit from it in the long run.”

Commissioner Jenny Sarmiento agreed, but advised those businesses who may apply for a permit to keep cannabis out of the hands of young people.

“Take as many precautions as you can to make sure that youth don’t have access to cannabis,” she said.

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