American Canyon City Councilmembers are pondering whether to take another look at city cannabis business laws.
The City Council in 2018 approved allowing cannabis businesses up to a total of six state license permits. All of the business must go in the Green Island industrial area. No storefront retail is allowed.
Two proposed businesses applied by the city’s Aug. 5, 2019 application deadline and are under consideration. They are Element 7 and Reesan Live.
“Both applications need a little refining and have some minor deficiencies they had to perfect …. It’s been a little slow, but both are proceeding and are active at this time,” Community Development Director Brent Cooper told the City Council on Tuesday.
These two businesses would take up all six state permit slots. That’s because individual state permits are needed for such things as indoor cultivation, manufacturing and delivery.
Several city council members said they had thought six state permits meant six businesses. As it turns out, that’s not the case.
In addition, Element 7 and Reesan Live intend to build their own buildings, which would take time. Meanwhile, Eric Sklar of Napa Valley Fume said he’s found a Green Island industrial area building to lease and wants to move head – if the city will reopen the application period.
“We look forward to putting the name ‘Napa,’ ‘Napa Valley’ on cannabis grown right here in American Canyon,” Sklar told the council. “You’d beat the rest of the county, including the county and the rest of the cities that have done nothing.”
Sklar has asked the Napa County Board of Supervisors to allow commercial cannabis cultivation in certain parts of the unincorporated county outside of cities, but so far without success. The wine industry has voiced concerns.
His proposed American Canyon business would do indoor cultivation, distribution and delivery, which would mean three state permits. That had council members wondering if they should increase the state license permit total to nine or more.
“It’s kind of a strange state infrastructure that doesn’t exist for any other industry that’s caused this problem of licenses-versus-businesses,” said Sklar, whose business is already in Lake County.
Another option is for the council to reopen the application period, keep the number of state permits allowed at six and have the city choose among the applicants. The city has cannabis business selection criteria for such a situation.
The City Council wasn’t ready to make such potentially controversial decisions on Tuesday. City Councilmember Mariam Aboudamous said the council arrived at existing cannabis business policies after much public input.
“I don’t like the idea of adding permits without public engagement because I don’t want residents to feel like we’ve tricked them into this,” she said.
Her colleagues agreed. The council will discuss cannabis business options during a public hearing at a future meeting, either on March 17 or later.