Arcata to tackle pot store regs Wednesday

City of Arcata

ARCATA – The City of Arcata is currently in the process of adopting new policies regarding adult cannabis retail sales and services.

At the Arcata City Council meeting held on May 2, the council considered recommendations made by the Planning Commission, Economic Development Committee and community members.

Recommendations included a proposed Land Use Code amendment to allow retail cannabis sales and services in commercial and light industrial districts including downtown and central Arcata, Northtown, Valley West, industrial areas of South G Street, Creamery District, West End Road/Aldergrove and the neighborhood commercial areas. These prospective zoning changes are a result of new state laws legalizing recreational adult-use cannabis and community input provided to the City over the past year.

After a lengthy discussion, City Council instructed City staff to bring back a revised ordinance for introduction Wednesday, May 16.

The ordinance, if adopted, requires businesses conducting cannabis retail sales and services to receive a Use Permit from the City’s Planning Commission. The permit process will allow the community to provide input on a cannabis business’s potential impacts to the public’s health, safety and welfare before the permit can be issued.

All businesses, whether cannabis is the primary activity or a small part of the business, will require licensing from the state and the City’s Commercial Cannabis Activity Permit.

The proposed ordinance also includes limiting the number of Use Permits to 15 businesses within the Arcata city limits and would prohibit businesses on the Plaza that primarily focus on adult cannabis retail sales and services.

No more than one cannabis retail and service-based business would be allowed to operate in each neighborhood commercial district including the Westwood, Sunny Brae, Greenview and Bayside districts.

In addition, cannabis accessory sales would not be limited to the 15-permit cap, and would be allowed in most commercial zones including the Plaza and Cannabis Innovation Zone.

Businesses that would be required to apply for city permits under the proposed ordinance include those that provide retail sales of both medicinal and adult cannabis directly to consumers, and businesses providing a service to individuals that includes the use of cannabis products. Examples of potential cannabis service businesses are those providing massage therapy, aromatherapy, counseling programs, yoga classes, arts and crafts programs and others not yet conceived.

Cannabis consumers are currently limited in where they are able to use cannabis products since state law prohibits cannabis to be consumed or used in public.
The City of Arcata also prohibits smoking tobacco and cannabis products in places of employment.

The new proposed standards would allow for on- and off-site cannabis consumption or use as allowed per California state law, but the new ordinance proposed would not revise the City’s “places of employment” prohibition. Innovative business models would be given an opportunity to apply for on-site cannabis consumption areas as new technology or other modes of use are developed such as edibles, tinctures or topical applications.

The Arcata City Council will officially introduce this ordinance at the City Council meeting taking place Wednesday, May 16 at 6 p.m. in Council Chamber at Arcata City Hall located at 736 F St.



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