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Regulations on Commercial Cannabis Activities in the City of Tracy

CANNABIS BUSINESS PERMIT APPLICATION PERIOD EXTENDED:

The City of Tracy (“City”) has been made aware that several questions remain concerning the Cannabis Business Permit application requirements. Due to the continued receipt of questions, the City intends to clarify all application submittal requirements provided in the Application Procedures and Guidelines and in the regulations on commercial cannabis activity [Chapter 6.36 and Section 10.08.3196 of the Tracy Municipal Code (Ordinance Nos. 1277, 1287, and 1293, and Ordinance 1278)]. To provide all applicants with information in a timely manner, the City is hereby extending the deadline to submit an application for a Cannabis Business Permit until 5:00pm (PST) on Thursday, October 15, 2020

The City has issued an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the Cannabis Business Permit process. Please click here to view the FAQs. The FAQs will be updated by 5:00pm (PST) daily until 3:00pm (PST) on Thursday, October 15, 2020. The City strongly encourages applicants to review the FAQs. 

ALL APPLICANTS: Please review the following information regarding steps that may be taken regarding your application(s).

·         If you have already submitted an application to the City of Tracy:

o   You may request to have your application returned to you and re-submit to the City by the new deadline. If you choose to have your application returned to you, please contact Peggy Beeuwsaert in writing via email peggy.beeuwsaert@cityoftracy.org and you will be provided written instructions for the return of your application. No questions via telephone will be accepted and no oral responses will be provided. The City will not retain any part of an application that is being returned. Re-submittals of applications are NOT required. 

·         If you have not submitted an application to the City of Tracy:

o   You may submit your application to the City by the new deadline.

Please refer to the right-hand column of this page for additional information with regard to the Cannabis Business Permit application process, including the Application Procedures and Guidelines, Forms, Regulatory Documents, and Helpful Links such as the FAQ. 

All questions regarding the Cannabis Business Permit application guidelines should be directed to Peggy Beeuwsaert peggy.beeuwsaert@cityoftracy.org, in writing via email. No questions via telephone will be accepted and no oral responses will be providedAll questions and responses will be posted to the FAQs, as provided above. 


CHRONOLOGY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CANNABIS REGULATIONS IN THE CITY OF TRACY:

California state law allows local governments to regulate commercial cannabis activities in their respective jurisdictions.  On December 3, 2019, the City Council of the City of Tracy adopted Ordinance 1277 establishing regulations for commercial cannabis activity in the City of Tracy and Ordinance 1278 establishing zoning and locational requirements on commercial cannabis activity in Tracy.

Cannabis Ordinances & Regulations 

Information related to regulations on commercial cannabis activity and zoning requirements on commercial cannabis activity can be found in the right column of this page or by accessing the City’s Municipal Code

Background: 

On June 27, 2016, the State enacted the Medical Cannabis Regulatory Safety Act (MCRSA) to protect residents’ use of medical cannabis and to establish regulations for personal and commercial medical cannabis activity. On November 8, 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) to regulate personal and commercial non-medical marijuana activity. On January 1, 2018 the State began issuing temporary commercial licenses for medicinal and non-medicinal cannabis. Many California cities and counties are now implementing local cannabis regulations.

Timeline:

· July 25, 2018: An ordinance to allow up to two medical cannabis non-storefront (i.e. delivery only) dispensaries to operate in the City’s industrial locations was prepared by City Staff; it was introduced to the City of Tracy Planning Commission. 

· September 18, 2018: The proposed cannabis ordinance and operational regulations was presented to the Tracy City Council for further discussion.

· February 5, 2019:  At the City Council meeting, staff was directed to draft a regulatory ordinance that 1) allows all cannabis businesses except cultivation; 2) allows the location of these businesses in industrial and possibly commercial and other areas of the City; and 3) restricts the number of dispensaries to two with the possibility of more. Council further directed staff to research best practices from other agencies and draft an ordinance with the highest regulatory standards with an emphasis on cost recovery.

· August 13, 2019: A Special City Council meeting was held to discuss potential regulations for commercial cannabis activity and provide direction to staff. The workshop had two primary areas of discussion: land use regulations and cost recovery models. City Council provided direction to staff related to locational requirements for various cannabis business types. At that meeting, it was established that storefront retail cannabis businesses (dispensaries) would be permitted in commercial and industrial areas of the City, and that the more industrial-in nature cannabis businesses (distribution, indoor cultivation, micro-businesses, testing laboratories, manufacturing) would be permitted in industrial areas. All businesses would be required to first obtain a Conditional Use Permit from the Planning Commission in order to operate. Full details regarding what happened at this special meeting can be found by watching the Council Meeting video or reading the discussion summary.

· September 3, 2019: Special City Council meeting was held to further discuss land use considerations and begin the policy discussion on the commercial cannabis activity regulatory permit. The City Council provided further direction on types of business activities, including outdoor cultivation and volatile manufacturing. The City Council determined that the regulatory ordinance for commercial cannabis activities should allow for four permits for storefront retail cannabis businesses (dispensaries). In addition, the Council discussed and provided direction for specific regulations that are above the minimums established by State cannabis regulations which include Proposition 64 and implementing laws and regulations such as Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MAUCRSA”). Full details regarding what happened at this special meeting can be found by watching the Council Meeting video or reading the discussion summary

· October 1, 2019:  A Special City Council meeting was held to highlight the sections of the ordinance that incorporated the Council’s prior direction. To review those details, please read the agenda.

· November 5, 2019:  At the Regular Council Meeting, the Council introduced Ordinances amending Chapter 6.36 if the Tracy Municipal Code regarding Commercial Cannabis Activity and amending Section 10.08.3196 of the Tracy Municipal Code regarding establishing Zoning and Location Requirements for Commercial Cannabis Businesses

· December 3, 2019: At a Regular Council Meeting, the City Council adopted Ordinance 1277 and Ordinance 1278  establishing regulations for commercial cannabis activity in the City of Tracy and Ordinance 1278 establishing zoning and locational requirements on commercial cannabis activity in Tracy.

· January 21, 2020:  At a Regular Council Meeting, the Council considered and discussed draft procedures and guidelines (“Guidelines”) for the cannabis business permit application process. Staff requested Council direction in order to finalize these proposed Guidelines for cannabis business permit applications. The City’s regulatory ordinance on commercial cannabis activities, contained in Chapter 6.36 of the Tracy Municipal Code (“TMC”), requires that the City Council adopt, by resolution, the procedures to govern the cannabis business permit application process (TMC Section 6.36.050(a).).  The Council directed staff to return to Council with revised draft Guidelines.  Full details regarding what happened at this Regular Meeting can be found by watching the Council Meeting video.

• April 21, 2020: At a Regular City Council meeting, the Council provided further direction on the requirements to include on a Cannabis Business Permit Application. A draft of the Application Procedures and Guidelines (Guidelines) was presented to the Council for consideration and discussion, which resulted in additional direction to produce the Guidelines. This draft identified that there will be two phases to the process including an Eligibility Review and Evaluation of Community Benefit Contribution before the issuance of a Cannabis Business Permit. After receiving this additional direction, staff modified the Guidelines for the Council to consider for adoption at the May 19, 2020 City Council meeting.

• May 19, 2020: City staff returned to Council with a revised copy of the Cannabis Business Permit Application Procedure and Guidelines (Guidelines) per the direction provided on April 21, 2020. Council discussed the draft Guidelines and decided to revise sections with respect to the local applicant criteria by providing zip codes as an identifier, and giving more weight to social equity considerations and property owner acknowledgment requirements for applicants seeking consideration based on social equity factors. Staff will return to Council with an updated draft of the Guidelines for further discussion and consideration by the Council.

• July 7, 2020: City staff returned to Council to further discuss the procedures and guidelines and introduce Ordinance 1293 to amend Chapter 6.36 of the Tracy Municipal Code to further refine the cannabis cultivation permit requirements.

• July 21, 2020: Ordinance 1293 was adopted by Council; and, following additional comments from the public and ensuing discussion, the Cannabis Business Permit Application Procedures and Guidelines were finalized and adopted via Resolution 2020-137.

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