Want to open a recreational marijuana bushiness in Pasadena? The city is charging $24,000.
The Pasadena City Council last week approved two fees that will be charged to prospective cannabis businesses. The fees make Pasadena one of the more expensive Southern California cities in which to open up a pot shop.
A first-round application fee of $13,654 will be charged to all applicants when a 30-day application window opens in January. Staff will score those applications and choose the best of the bunch — defined as those very likely to pass Planning Commission review — who will be invited to move forward with the permitting process later next year at an additional cost of $10,639.
That second step is similar in style and cost to the city’s existing conditional use permits, which are required for non-marijuana, large-scope projects that must go before the Planning Commission for approval.
Voters in June approved a measure that allows up to six retail dispensaries, four growing facilities and four testing labs in Pasadena.
By comparison, application and permitting fees in Long Beach stand at $6,075, while Culver City hopeful marijuana entrepreneurs can be charged nearly $24,000, according to a Pasadena city staff report.
Pasadena has spent a lot of time and money developing its marijuana regulations. Processing applications through multiple city departments and agencies will cost even more. The city’s new fee schedule is meant to recoup those costs, according to Planning Director David Reyes.
“We used an outside consulting firm, we used in-house attorneys, we used outside attorneys. It took a long time to get this thing right — there was a lot of resources expended,” he said. “These are fees that are just cost recovery. There’s no cushion in there.”
Though there are 14 possible slots for marijuana businesses in Pasadena, it’s not a guarantee. No more than one of each type of business — retail, cultivation and testing — will be allowed in any one council district.
Plus there are other state and local rules that limit where cannabis businesses can open up shop. For example, they must be 600 feet away from residential neighborhoods, schools, churches and parks.
Add those restrictions with the array of currently available real estate in the city, and it’s likely the Pasadena might be able to issue only three or four permits, according to Reyes. Still, he’s anticipating as many as 70 applications.
Already, the city has received calls from people interested in doing business in Pasadena, according to city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian. The city will hold a workshop going over the application procedures and selection process from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Additional information from the city is available at www.cityofpasadena.net/planning/marijuana- regulations.
Pasadena has prohibited dispensaries since 2005, though that doesn’t mean some haven’t opened illegally. Those illegal pot shops will not be allowed to apply for permits, per the new rules.
Another measure voters approved in June will tax new retail marijuana businesses at 6 percent and all other new marijuana-related businesses at 4 percent.