Commercial cannabis delivery in Truckee has moved one step closer to reality with the Town of Truckee Planning Commission approving a resolution on April 26 that spells out how commercial and medicinal cannabis companies will operate within the town.
The commission’s meeting on the issue lasted roughly two hours, and centered on zoning for the fixed structures the delivery services are required to operate out of, type of and number of permits to be issued, and separation standards from sensitive areas like day care centers and youth centers.
Ultimately, the commission approved of the resolution, which will now serve as a recommendation to the Truckee Town Council to adopt regulations for commercial cannabis delivery. A date for that agenda item has yet to be set.
The Truckee Town Council had previously adopted the framework for cannabis delivery during a council meeting in October, but was looking to the planning commission for more expertise on the “nuts and bolts” of the issue.
During the meeting the commission hammered out several details in regards to the proposed regulations, and made several modifications to the staff report before approval.
WITHIN THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS
The businesses will be delivery only, with all other commercial cannabis activities prohibited. The companies are restricted from any sales at their fixed locations, which must be 600 feet away from schools, day care centers, and youth centers. The locations also cannot exceed 3,000 square feet or have a retail storefront, and will be limited to areas zoned for manufacturing, downtown manufacturing and service commercial. The commission changed language in the staff report to remove public parks from the list of sensitive locations. The delivery companies will also be allowed to post signage at their fixed locations.
“I’m still in favor of keeping all of those extra restrictions off of our motion, mostly because I personally believe in education,” said Commissioner David Polivy on the visibility of the delivery business and their location next to sensitive areas. “I have a 9-year-old daughter as well, and I’d rather talk to her about it so that she’s aware, rather than trying to keep it as this underground use … we as parents have take some responsibility for that.”
The commission also removed the terms of licensing due to the state’s own requirements, and also decided not to restrict the number of businesses in the area, something several of the area’s medicinal cannabis delivery companies where in favor of.
“Probably against my own self interest, I’m going to say that I still don’t like the idea of picking winners and losers,” said Jeffrey Naughton of Tahoe Meds. “I don’t like the idea of a beauty contest just in general for any business. (It will) probably create more businesses than I want to compete against, but already the reality is these aren’t going to be super lucrative businesses here. I think the size of our town is going to drastically limit that.”
Tahoe Honey Company owner, Charles Willett, agreed with Naughton’s remarks on leaving the number of permits open.
“I don’t agree with any sort of cap on the number of delivery services,” said Naughton. “We don’t have that on alcohol establishments, I’m not really sure why we would put that on our businesses … we have alcohol establishments popping up nonstop still in town. I’m not sure how they can still be so close to every single sensitive use in town.”
‘UNLIMITED PERMITS PROMOTES COMPETITION’
Notably, Tahoe Truckee Future Without Drug Dependence softened its stance on the issue after meeting with several local cannabis delivery services.
“This is a significant departure from our historical position and we hope you can recognize this,” said Carolyn Ford, Chairman of Tahoe Truckee Future Without Drug Dependence. “And we believe it’s the most important stance in safeguarding our community in addressing public health concerns and retaining local control.”
The group stated its support of pre-screening and selection criteria for potential business operators, but was in favor of limiting the number of permits issued.
“Unlimited permits promotes competition in the marketplace, thereby driving pricing downward,” said Ford. “Adult overconsumption is what we actively are trying to avoid. Unlimited permits promotes increasing marketing to the community to secure consumer market share, thereby increasing social acceptance and normalizing the product.”
In the end, the commission decided not to implement a restriction on the number of business.
“We don’t support pre-screening or caps,” said Chair Seth Kielas just before the commission approved the resolution.