Truckee council moves forward with commercial cannabis regulations | SierraSun.com

Truckee council moves forward with commercial cannabis regulations

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

Following nearly two hours of public comment and discussion, the Truckee Town council came to a decision on commercial cannabis delivery regulations in Truckee.

The first reading of the ordinance was waived, requiring the council to approve the proposed regulations at the next council meeting. The decision came after a year of discussion, including four public workshops, two planning commission meetings, four council meetings and review of hundreds of public comment letters.

The council adopted the same regulations put forth by the planning commission with one exception. They plan to add a resolution that details criteria businesses must meet to obtain a license from the town. However, the town will place no cap on the number of licenses distributed and will not require a pre-screening process.

The final draft of regulations allows businesses to only deliver. However each delivery service must have a fixed location to run operations, at which direct sales cannot take place. The businesses cannot exceed 3,000 square feet or have a retail storefront. They must maintain at least 600 feet of distance from schools, daycares and youth centers and will be limited to areas zoned for manufacturing, downtown manufacturing, service commercial and general commercial.

Businesses in the general commercial zone may not be located on a ground floor. In addition the town has the power to classify other sensitive areas in the future which businesses cannot be near, such as drug treatment centers.

Originally the planning commission proposed that such businesses must be placed at least 1,000 feet from schools. However, this allowed for very limited options for locations that delivery services could operate out of.

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Each business is required to obtain a use permit from the town and must only deliver to physical addresses. Delivery to a publicly owned place or building is prohibited as well as public access to the delivery buildings. The town will adopt the state safety requirement regarding disbursement of cannabis instead of creating their own.

"I encourage the council to go slow," said Truckee resident John Falk to the council. "You can always build but you can't unring the bell. There's a lot of ways this could go wrong."

Falk said the owners of these businesses are "smart and level minded and want to do the right thing" but urged the council to proceed with caution.

Other residents voiced their concern over the health and safety of the town.

"Cannabis should not be treated as a business opportunity but a health risk," said Truckee resident Andy Hill, stating that there was a lack of preamble regarding these risks.

Proponents of the new ordinance, however, believed the regulations already went too far by restricting the businesses to delivery only.

"If these businesses can only deliver in Truckee I'm not sure it's a viable business," said Brad Farmer. "There's a lot of young entrepreneurs in this town who want to succeed and give back to the community and they deserve a real shot at it."

Owners of existing medical cannabis dispensaries echoed these concerns, pushing the council to make a decision so they can begin generating profit from the legalization of marijuana under Prop 64.

"We're already here, we've been here for years," said Jeffrey Naughton of Tahoe Meds, a medical marijuana delivery service in Truckee. "No one can even get into this model with delivery only, why would you add more regulations."

The council is set to vote on the ordinance at the next council meeting, putting the new regulations into place.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Truckee Sun. She can be reached at hjones@truckeesun.com or 503-550-2652.