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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

City Planning Commission meets to discuss cannabis dispensaries


Four cannabis dispensaries set to open later this year

On Feb. 28, the City Planning Commission met to discuss the cannabis dispensary permit applications, continuing the Conditional Use Permit process, which will end with up to four cannabis dispensaries opening in downtown Davis later this year. The applications were all submitted before Oct. 13 last year and have been under review since then. During the meeting, as part of the application process, the commission heard presentations from each of the 12 applicants and received public testimony from residents and local business owners regarding the prospective dispensaries.

“Overall, I’m very pleased with the process and the applicant pool,” said Darryl Rutherford, a member of the City Planning Commission, via email. “I believe that City leaders, staff, and commissioners have learned a lot about this industry as well as a very complicated law that guides the structure of our City’s ordinance. There are a lot of questions that come to my mind: If we allow them downtown, how will they impact the limited parking we already have? Will businesses that are an all-cash business and have so much of and variety of cannabis products have a negative impact on the health and safety of our community?”

Both Manna Roots and Good People Farms dispensaries had workers or applicants who said that introducing the vendors to the downtown economy would bring more customers from around the city to the downtown marketplace. The CUP applicants argued that opening the dispensaries would lead to higher foot traffic patterns throughout downtown. The applicants also pointed out that residents in Davis already use delivery services to bring cannabis into the city, yet the city receives no tax revenue from these purchases. If the city were to allow the four dispensaries to open up in town, they would be able to tax and profit off of them. Many of the applicants and owners are from Davis, and all 12 claim to be looking to integrate into and benefit the downtown market and Davis as a whole.

“Our project supports the City’s stated goals in their Downtown Plan to ‘create a diverse and economically-resilient downtown and encourage local entrepreneurship,’” said Mary Kay Hoal, an applicant for the Good People Farms Dispensary. “We appreciate the City’s thoughtful approach […] In addition to helping to revitalize downtown, we will provide a larger economic impact on Davis residents, businesses and well-deserving Davis organizations. The Good People Farms is committed to investing in its hometown.”

But there are still other members of the community who are averse to dispensaries opening up downtown. During the public testimony, business owners and residents alike expressed concern about the increased traffic the dispensaries might bring in. Many had other qualms with the cannabis industry spreading into Davis, some mentioning the odor that might result from users smoking downtown or the potentially impacted parking space. A few residents have even mentioned concerns regarding “unsavory clientele” — as said by Mark Blake, the owner of Blake’s Heating and Air, in an article for The Davis Enterprise — that the dispensaries might attract.

“We’re all quiet, low-volume neighbors,” said Stacia Rusakowicz, the owner of Pomegranate Salon, which is located next to a cannabis distributor. “But we’re looking at these businesses having about 200 people a day visit them. This is a pilot program — given the issues that plague downtown Davis already, every potential impact of retail cannabis sales needs to be carefully considered.”

The applications for each of the conditional use permit dispensaries are posted on the City of Davis website, which allows residents to look up who will be owning each dispensary and where each vendor can potentially open them. The Planning Commission will continue to provide comments to the applicants before they submit their recommendations to the council. The City Council will then decide which four of the 13 applicants who have applied — one of the 12 businesses has two proposed locations — will be permitted to open their doors downtown on June 12, 2018. Customers over the age of 21 will then be able to purchase from these stores and consume marijuana in their own homes and locally allowed spaces.



Written by: Ahash Francis — city@theaggie.org



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