City Council may approve commercial cannabis activities within the city at its May 4 meeting

Will the Susanville City Council permit commercial cannabis activities with the city limits? The council may finally answer that question at its Wednesday, May 4 meeting.

The meeting begins with a closed session at 4:30 p.m. for a conference with legal counsel regarding the city’s lawsuit opposing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s proposed closure of the California Correctional Center.

Open session begins at 5 pm. Items on the agenda include public comment; the consent agenda; a public hearing on a proposed city ordinance updating the municipal code governing fireworks; an agreement on emergency services at the Lassen County Fairgrounds; an agreement regarding the loan of excess firefighter property; sponsorship of the Susanville Air Fair; a presentation from Ducks Unlimited on possible waterfowl habitat improvements at the Barry Creek Reservoir; consideration of the approval of a recommendation from the Planning Commission regarding the issuance of an administrative citation; consideration of a $7,000 increase to the Golf Course budget; a request to use $1,000 of Councilmember Kevin Stafford’s discretionary budget to purchase signs for the Susanville Community Garden; and department reports.

But perhaps the biggest and most controversial item on the agenda — Ordinance No. 22-1033, the regulation of commercial cannabis activities within the city limits — is up for a second reading and adoption. It would go into effect 30 days after approval. While the ordinance, if approved, would ban any outdoor cultivation outright, it would allow indoor grows in some parts of the city. The ordinance also would allow up to three dispensaries within the city limits.

According to the proposed ordinance, “The city wishes to establish a uniform regulatory structure for all cannabis uses in the city in accordance with state law,” and, “The proposed zoning amendments contained herein are consistent with the goals and policies of all elements of the General Plan, and any applicable specific plan in that the ordinance will direct commercial cannabis businesses to appropriate commercial and industrial districts designed to support such uses,” and, “The proposed zoning changes will result in land uses that are compatible with existing and future uses and will not be detrimental to the public interest, health, safety, convenience, or welfare of the city.”

According to the staff report, “Distribution, manufacturing and testing would be allowed in Industrial and Commercial Zoning Districts … Staff is exploring fee assessment options until such time as the city can place a cannabis tax measure on a future ballot.”

According to the staff report, “There is no fiscal impact identified that is associated with approving the ordinance. If approved, commercial cannabis businesses will be allowed to establish themselves within the city of Susanville, which would increase economic activity resulting in increased revenues for the city. The overall increase is difficult to quantify because it is dependent upon the types and sizes of activities established, which is a market driven variable one that is not fully within the control of the city.”

According to the staff report, the ordinance qualifies for a “general rule exemption” and does not require a California Environmental Quality Assurance review.

The council approved a first reading of the ordinance by a 3-1 vote April 20. Mayor Mendy Schuster cast the lone dissenting vote with Councilmembers Stafford, Thomas Herrera and Quincy McCourt voting aye. Councilmember Brian Moore was not present at that meeting.

You can view the City Council’s agenda at granicus_production_attachments.s3.amazonaws.com/cityofsusanville/bccae748e7a76455186c964a654a771d0.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.