OROVILLE — Facing a fair amount of opposition, the Oroville City Council took a big step on Tuesday toward bringing commercial cannabis to the city.
The council voted 5-1 to introduce two ordinances, with one focused on changes to zoning code to allow for such businesses, while the other outlines other regulations for prospective businesses.
The council may eventually give final approval, but Tuesday was only the first reading.
It’s unclear at this point if the ordinances will be disbanded if Oroville voters oppose a cannabis business tax measure that the council recently voted to put on the November ballot. Councilors have said they are pushing this forward because of the city’s desperate need for more revenue, as California Public Employees’ Retirement System obligation costs continue to rise.
There certainly are more questions to be answered, but SCI Consulting Group, which the city hired to prepare ordinances, has done this before. Many concerns raised by the public at Tuesday’s meeting are addressed in the ordinance.
Here are some highlights.
As written, the changes to city code would allow for a maximum of three storefront retail locations.
Cannabis businesses would have to be at least 600 feet away from a school, day care center or youth center. Retail businesses would have to be a minimum of 1,000 feet from each other.
Currently, no residential buffer is included. However, members of the Planning Commission suggested on Tuesday that buffers between marijuana operations and churches, parks and residences be added into the ordinance.
Businesses would be required to have a “sufficient odor-absorbing ventilation and exhaust system” to ensure no odor would be detectable outside of the property. No consumption of cannabis products would be allowed on the premises.
All businesses, excluding storefront retailers, would not be open to the general public. The Oroville City Council voted on Tuesday to amend the proposed ordinances to disallow any minor from entering stores, even if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
All cultivation would have to be done indoors and not be visible from the public right of way.
Permits offered by the city would be valid for up to one year, at which point they may be renewed. They would not include property rights. No business owners or employees could have felonies.
Businesses would have to agree to share any and all business records with the city at any time for at least seven years.
Closed circuit cameras for both the interior and exterior of buildings would be required and the city would be able to access that footage upon request. Businesses would have to have a fire and burglar alarm system in place.
All employees, including security guards, would be required to wear ID badges at all times while working. Shipments to the businesses could only be accepted during regular business hours and no goods could be visible from the exterior. Delivery vehicles could not indicate that marijuana products were inside.
Inventory would have to be locked up outside of business hours and at least one security guard would be required to be on duty. Businesses could be open no earlier than 9 a.m. and close no later than 9 p.m.