On January 27, 2020, the City Council directed staff to work on a commercial cannabis program and approved a ballot initiative for the November 2020 election to allow the City to tax commercial cannabis operations. The intent was that if the ballot initiative passed, then commercial cannabis regulations would be enacted.
- October 12, 2020 - The City Council unanimously endorsed a framework for commercial cannabis regulations (Staff Report item 13A and City Council Meeting Video).
- November 2020 - Voters approved Measure I, a ballot measure for the taxation of cannabis.
- November 23, 2020 - Staff presented to City Council a draft of the Regulatory Ordinance (Chapter 6.420) and a Resolution for the Maximum Number of Businesses and Buffers from Sensitive Uses (Staff Report item 11A and City Council Meeting Video). The City Council requested an interactive map (See the "Interactive Map" section below) for the next meeting to assist with deciding on buffers.
- February 8, 2021 - The City Council approved the first reading of the Regulatory Ordinance (Chapter 6.420) and Zoning Ordinance (Section 24.105.200). A draft of each is included in the staff report (Staff Report item 12A and City Council Meeting Video).
- Council approved a Resolution for the Maximum Number of Businesses and Buffers from Sensitive Uses. For more information on buffers see the "Buffers" section below.
- February 24, 2021 - The City Council approved the second reading of the Regulatory Ordinance (Chapter 6.420) (Staff Report item 9I) and Zoning Ordinance (Section 24.105.200) (Staff Report item 9J) (City Council Meeting Video).
You may follow City Council meetings and find staff reports in the Agenda Center.
- March 8, 2021 - Staff will present to City Council the proposed cannabis fees and an agreement for a cannabis consultant to assist the City with the rest of the application process, as well as compliance and auditing.
- March 22, 2021 - City Council public hearing regarding a resolution authorizing submittal of a Local Coastal Program Amendment to the California Coastal Commission.
When will applications be available? The City does not yet have a timeline of when applications will be available. Staff is currently working with the cannabis consultant and multiple departments on the applications.
Buffers are only one layer of regulatory protection for the community. Buffers are imperfect tools, but are intended to screen out locations that could not possibly be appropriate. The rest of the intensive application process will include review and scoring of applications by City departments, including the Police Department, and a public meeting where public comment can be received and factored in. Also, there will be a proposed cap on the total number of cannabis businesses.
As an analogy, this will be like dozens of applicants applying for a small number of jobs. Having a property outside an adopted buffer only gets you an interview, but only the applications that score the highest will get awarded a permit. And “appropriateness of the location” will be part of the scoring.
What are the Buffers?
On February 8, 2021, the City Council decided on the following buffers, found in the approved resolution above:
- The buffers will be 600 feet around elementary, middle, and high schools, whether public, private, or charter, and this will be measured from the front door of the cannabis business to the property line of the sensitive use.
The following are "soft buffers", which are not in the resolution, but that will be included in the merit-based application. This means that points will be deducted for proximity to these locations/buffers.
- Daycare and youth centers were not included in the resolution for sensitive use buffers, BUT points may be deducted for proximity to those locations.
- A “well-traveled path to schools” will also be a soft buffer.
More information about Location and Neighborhood Compatibility criteria will be released when the application becomes available.
The interactive map provides you with the ability to see what a combination of different buffer options would look like. If any part of a property touches a buffer, then that site is ineligible to even apply to locate a cannabis business at that location.
The recommended browser to view the map is Chrome.
- Properties in shades of pink are potential locations for retail cannabis businesses.
- Properties in shades of light blue are potential locations for retail and industrial cannabis businesses.
- Sensitive use locations are shown in other colors ranging from orange, green and darker blue.
The map starts with all buffers off. You can turn on a buffer by clicking on the appropriate box. You can turn multiple buffers on at once.
What Might These Businesses Look Like?
For a sense of what a cannabis business might look like, the City’s proposed regulations are similar to Port Hueneme, so the appearance and operations of cannabis businesses in Ventura will be similar to what you see in Port Hueneme.