Culver City’s decision to allow three marijuana dispensaries to operate in the area has been put on ice until “sometime” in the second quarter of 2018. In fact, the City isn’t presently accepting requests or applications for any marijuana business permits.
City council officials have announced that applications for indoor cultivation, delivery-only retail businesses, distribution and laboratory testing will be released “towards the end of the first quarter of 2018”, in other words, probably towards the end of April.
Culver City is regarded as prime real estate for the marijuana industry because of its ideal location – situated in the center of West LA and with easy access to major freeways; Culver City is the perfect alternative.
Marijuana operators wait in the wings
This latest development comes as a body-blow to cannabis business owners who have been waiting in the wings to begin operating in Culver City ever since the council gave the nod to legalization back in 2017. Culver City has placed a blanket ban on all outdoor commercial marijuana cultivation but will grant permits for three indoor growers. The City Council has agreed to issue a total of 27 licenses in the following categories:
- Storefront Retail – 3
- Delivery Only Retail (home delivery) – 5
- Manufacturing – 6
- Distribution – 6
- Laboratory Testing – 4
Stringent regulations placed on dispensaries
- The City Council has announced some pretty stringent rules and regulations that will be implemented prior to awarding “up to three” storefront retail marijuana business permits. While the council will be using a competitive, merit-based, multi-phased-based process, applicants for storefront retail dispensaries will also be required to obtain a conditional use permit before they can open their doors for business.
- Retail storefronts are also restricted to operating between 8 am and 9 pm.
- While zoning restrictions are fairly generous, dispensaries cannot be situated closer than 600 feet from K-12 schools, day care centers, pre-schools, youth centers, parks or playgrounds.
- They must also be situated at least 1,000 feet from any other dispensaries.
- They cannot be situated on a corner lot adjacent to residential zones, except for LA residential neighborhoods, and/or if the premises has its own parking lot that acts as a buffer from the residential neighborhood.
- Marijuana business permits are not transferable.
- Business relocation can only be undertaken with City Council approval.
- There are also further restrictions revolving around any change of ownership or change of business operations.
Culver City residents will vote on pot tax levels
Culver City residents will be going to the polls in a municipal election ballot on April 10, 2018, to consider proposals for excise tax levels on marijuana. Once approved, the tax rates will remain unchanged for two years, after which time they can be reassessed and readjusted by the City Council. Taxation on cultivation will also be adjusted after two years, in line with the consumer price index.
The tax rates being proposed by the City Council are:
- Retail (medicinal): between 5 -8%, with an initial rate of 5%
- Retail (adult-use): between 6-10%, with an initial rate of 6%
With only three dispensary licenses up for grabs, competition for a permit to operate in Culver City is expected to be fierce. City officials have warned industry players to monitor development closely and to have all their paperwork and groundwork in place so that they can move quickly once applications for operating permits are released towards the end of the second quarter of the year.