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October 26, 2020

Council calls for cannabis growth

WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville City Council on Tuesday made recommendations for sweeping changes to the City’s cannabis laws.

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Along with possibly adding multiple cannabis business licenses, the Council also recommended changes to its allowable square footage for cultivation, employee background checks, delivery regulations and distance requirements.

Council members, however, did not make a recommendation for the tax structure on cannabis businesses. Instead, they asked staff to do more research on possible changes to taxation before it prepares a final ordinance that will be presented to the Planning Commission next month.

That ordinance will then be presented to the Council for approval sometime in early 2020.

The Council recommended the addition of six manufacturing licenses, two “stand alone” distribution licenses, two retail licenses and an unlimited number of testing licenses. 

Currently, the City allows only six cultivation and nine manufacturing licenses.

The Council also recommended manufacturers and cultivators have the ability to sell their products through delivery.

Mayor Pro-Tem Rebecca Garcia voted against every proposed expansion, citing the lack of presentable safety figures (number of cannabis-related arrests and DUIs since its legalization) during Tuesday’s presentation.

Other recommendations include:

• Raising the maximum square footage of cultivation from 5,000 square feet to 22,000 with no limits on the grow area’s footprint.

• Allowing one cultivation license to be used on more than one parcel to reach the maximum square footage.

• Continue to recognize licenses for processing and nurseries as cultivation licenses.

• Allow delivery for cannabis services that operate in city limits.

• Enforce separation requirements for all uses except for cultivation by path of travel from the property line of sensitive use areas (churches, schools, parks) to the main door of the cannabis business.

• Allow retail in zones designated Thoroughfare Commercial, Neighborhood Shopping Center and Visitor Commercial, as well as Light Industrial and Industrial.

• Requiring employee background checks for only owners and managers of cannabis businesses.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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