Council to Weigh Pot Ordinance

 

At a session preceding its Sept. 5 meeting, the City Council will offer the first reading of an ordinance establishing rules for dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses. 

SCI Consulting Group recommends the eventual permitting of three dispensaries — one serving medical users and two for recreational users — in specified areas of the city. On-site vaporization at dispensaries would be banned, as would outdoor cultivation of cannabis for commercial purposes.

Indoor cultivation for commercial purposes would be allowed under the proposed ordinance, as would manufacturing, distribution and lab testing of cannabis products. 

“Regulations applicable to each business activity are contained in the draft ordinance,” City Manager Jill Keimach wrote in a note to the City Council. Proprietors would first require a conditional use permit to do business at a given site. Then they would need a regulatory permit from the Alameda Police Department, which would investigate the applicant’s background and proposed security plan.  

The proposed ordinance provides no advantage to current residents hoping to launch cannabis businesses — a disappointment to Rich Moskowitz, spokesman for Alamedans for Safe Cannabis Access (ASCA). At the Sept. 5 meeting, ASCA will submit some 600 signatures calling on the City Council to “prioritize local ownership.”

Another pot partisan, Sharon Golden of the Alameda Island Cannabis Community, is proposing that “the tax and fee revenues that are accrued from cannabis businesses be captured into a community fund that benefits Alameda’s social programs.”

SCI estimates that “a city of 80,000 people should generate between $800,000 and $1.6 million in local cannabis business taxes per year.” 

“This ‘rule-of-thumb’ is based primarily on taxes generated from dispensaries,” Keimach wrote. She expects that taxes paid by other cannabis-based enterprises will generate more revenue for Alameda.