CA: City Of Arcata Establishing New Policies For Adult Cannabis Retail Sales, Services

Photo Credit: Associated Press

The City of Arcata is currently in the process of considering new policies and establishing regulations on adult cannabis retail sales and services.

Arcata City Council will consider recommendations made by the Arcata City Planning Commission, Arcata City Economic Development Committee and community members next month at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, May 2 at 6 p.m.

Topics of discussion for consideration include adopting an ordinance to allow retail cannabis sales and services in commercial districts including downtown and central Arcata, Northtown, Valley West and the neighborhood commercial areas. The prospective zoning changes are a result of new state laws legalizing recreational adult-use cannabis and community input provided to the City over the past year.

If the proposed ordinance is adopted, businesses conducting retail sales and services would be required to receive a Use Permit from the City’s Planning Commission. The permit process would allow the community to provide input on a cannabis business’s potential impacts to the public’s health, safety and welfare before the permit is issued. All businesses, whether cannabis is the primary activity or a small part of the business, would require licensing from the state and the City.

The Arcata Planning Commission is recommending the number of Use Permits be limited to fifteen business with up to two in the Plaza area zone and no more than one in each neighborhood commercial district. Under this recommendation, cannabis accessory sales would be allowed in all commercial zones with a Use Permit, and as an accessory retail ‘tasting room’ in the Cannabis Innovation Zone. Cannabis accessory sales would not be included within the limited fifteen permit cap.

The Arcata City Economic Development Committee is recommending an open market with no caps on cannabis businesses, so that cannabis businesses are treated like all other local businesses without limitations.

Community outreach has shown that Arcata citizens are largely supportive of cannabis retail sales, and the City of Arcata recognizes that consumers want access to the expanding market of new cannabis products and services that are expected to grow with adult use cannabis legalization.

Businesses that would be required to apply for City permits under the proposed ordinance include those that provide retail sales of both medicinal and adult cannabis directly to consumers, and businesses providing a service to individuals that include the use of cannabis products. Examples of potential cannabis service businesses are those providing massage therapy, aromatherapy, counseling programs, yoga classes, arts and crafts programs and others not yet conceived.

Cannabis consumers are currently limited in where they are able to use cannabis products, since state law prohibits cannabis to be consumed or used in public, and the City of Arcata prohibits smoking tobacco and cannabis products in places of employment.

The new proposed standards for the City of Arcata would allow for on and off-site cannabis consumption or use as allowed per California state law, but the new standards proposed would not revise the City’s public spaces and ‘places of employment’ prohibition. Innovative business models would be given an opportunity to apply for on-site cannabis consumption areas as new technology or other modes of use are developed such as edibles, tinctures or topical applications.

Arcata City Council will consider recommendations made on this topic at the City Council meeting taking place on Wednesday, May 2 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at Arcata City Hall located at 736 F Street. All interested citizens are encouraged to attend.