Novato adopts restrictions on cannabis delivery stores

Cannabis delivery companies hoping to locate in Novato will now have fewer location options under new restrictions adopted by the city this week.

Novato city council voted unanimously on Tuesday to require delivery companies to be at least 600 feet from residential areas. At the same time, the council relaxed the location restrictions for cannabis testing labs.

The new restrictions on delivery companies are a response to concerns expressed by residents of San Marino earlier this year about a delivery service looking to move into their neighborhood.

Novato residents Justin Pool and Jennifer Durham received a conditional permit from the city earlier this year to open their delivery business on Highway 420 at 205 San Marino Drive. They withdrew the idea after receiving strong reluctance from neighboring residents who said the location was too close to the kids at San Marino High School and Rolling Hills clubs. Residents also raised concerns about the business attracting crime.

Under city rules, any cannabis delivery business in the city, including Highway 420, would not be open to the public and no products could be purchased on site. The city also determined that the site complied with the required 600-foot setback for youth centers, including the high school and club.

Police Chief Matthew McCaffrey also refuted concerns about businesses attracting crime, saying that crime in these types of businesses is often proportional to the amount of crime that already exists in an area. Crime rates in San Marino were low, he said.

Pool said on Wednesday that he and Durham have yet to find a new location but have potential options in the Bel Marin Keys industrial area. Pool said the industrial zone is likely one of the only locations his business and future delivery companies can locate due to Novato’s large residential footprint.

“They’re locking you in Bel Marin Keys,” Pool said. “It’s like that.”

The new restrictions are another example of Marin’s cautious approach to cannabis companies, despite the fact that nearly 70% of voters in the county – including a majority of Novato voters – support the measure to legalize recreational cannabis. Proposition 64 in 2016. The measure still allows local control of cannabis companies. and operations.

No county jurisdiction allows recreational cannabis dispensaries, although Fairfax does have one for medical purposes. Novato plans to discuss the possibility of allowing retail sales at a later date.

Pool said restricting cannabis businesses would only limit taxpayer money that could flow into the community. He said the income could solve problems such as homeless housing from Novato at Lee Gerner Park.

“The time has passed and the time has come for all counties and cities to start opening it up,” Pool said. “People voted for its legalization. “

The city council also changed its business rules for cannabis to give itself more leeway over the location of testing labs. The change reduces the setback by 600 feet for testing labs at youth facilities such as schools, youth centers and playgrounds. Now the range is up to 300 feet.

This change was made to allow an existing medical cannabis testing laboratory, CB Labs, to obtain a license under city rules. The lab at 1615 Hill Road has been operating since 2015 under the city’s medical cannabis regulations.

However, the lab is located within 600 feet of the Hill Education Center in the Hill Recreation Area, which violated the city’s previous setback rules enacted in 2019. The lab’s license with the city will expire in December, unless that he could not get a license before then.

The lower setback for the laboratories was suggested by the staff because the laboratories are closed to the public and do not have large quantities of products on site.

“The amount of cannabis on site is low enough for testing labs,” Novato director of community development Vicki Parker told the board.

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