City Council Discusses The Expansion Of Cannabis Retail In Santa Monica

June 16, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica City Council could soon permit the sale of adult use cannabis in the city. 

Ajay Kolluri, HdL’s Director of Cannabis Services provided city council on Tuesday, June 13, with a presentation to help councilmembers decide if they should expand or limit cannabis sales in Santa Monica. There was also a portion of the presentation that showed how the city of Santa Monica is unique in terms of legalizing adult use cannabis compare to other cities in the county.

Kolluri revealed how the city has the largest gap in the state between legal supply of cannabis and demand. “Santa Monica residents therefore can, and most certainly do, cross city limits to purchase adult-use cannabis from LA based businesses,” Kolluri said during the meeting.

Councilmembers discussed converting the existing cannabis businesses in Santa Monica to allow them to sell to those 21 years old or older and start a delivery service. Council discussed their concerns about the proximity of dispensaries to schools or sports fields. “Could we allow the two current medical dispensaries to convert to recreational dispensaries?” Mayor Gleam Davis asked.

No official decisions were made regarding the proposal and council will explore the issue at a later date.  

According to the Santa Monica Municipal Code only two dispensaries are permitted in the city and are only for medical purposes which means that customers must provide a doctor’s authorization in order to purchase products. Customers must also be 18 or older.

Medical marijuana became legal in California in 1996 but the City of Santa Monica hadn’t issued its first permit until 2021. 

The city’s only operating dispensary the Local Cannabis Company provided testimony to Tuesday’s city council meeting explaining that many of their walk-in customers lose interest in their business upon learning they need to apply for a medical card. The majorty of them leave without purchasing anything. 

Massachusetts-based Calyx Peak which is a permitted dispensary opened last week six years after the owners submitted their application. Their permit was granted over a year ago in October of 2021. 

Harvest of Santa Monica was also approved in January of 2022 but has yet to be established. 

In 2022, Santa Monica voters approved Measure HMP with a 66.79% “yes” vote to implement taxes for non-medical cannabis retailers, medical retailers, and all other licensed cannabis businesses.

By Christianne

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