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By Tammye McDuff

In December of 2017, the Bellflower City Council approved a total of ten medical Cannabis Business Permits [MCBP] and nine Conditional Use Permits [CUP] for those seeking to operate commercial medical cannabis facilities within the City. Four of the MCBP were dispensaries permits.

Upon processing the 2017 MCBP / CUP applications, it was realized that amendments needed to be made to the City’s regulations.  The Council previously approved a permit application fee of $28,500 and an annual permit fee of $25,000. If Council chooses to move forward a public hearing should be scheduled to consider fees for processing MCBP transfer requests, draft an Ordinance with the public hearing notice for the February 26, 2018 meeting.

The Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act [The Act] became effective during the 2017 application process. Various definitions within the regulations needed to be updated.  A review of the tax regulations also showed that voters approved an annual cannabis tax, but did not include a definition of ‘cannabis transportation business’. The definition of such transportation business is “a cannabis business delivering cannabis from licensed facilities outside the City’s jurisdiction to a person inside the City’s jurisdiction”.

There are a number of loopholes that are proposed to be closed.

Current cannabis regulations only uncover criminal activities committed by applicants.  The new proposed regulations would also allow the City to review applicant’s violations of the law that may have been prosecuted in civil proceedings.

Regulations also provide a general direction for the City Council in determining the location, whether the facility is aesthetically pleasing and if the project removes or encourages blight upon the City.

Several applicants which obtained a CUP were denied MCBP’s due to distance limitations.  Existing regulations state a license cannot be issued to applicants that are located within 1,000 feet of an existing cannabis business. This prevents a ‘clustering of cannabis dispensaries’.