South Lake Tahoe to allow two cannabis microbusinesses
South Lake Tahoe City Council has provided direction on a mostly-complete ordinance governing commercial cannabis, but a few big decisions still need to be made by the electeds.
At Tuesday’s meeting, City Council opted to permit two retail cannabis operations and two indoor cultivations less than 5,000 square feet. They also decided to allow two microbusinesses, which can operate three cannabis related activities — like manufacturing, retail and cultivation — under one permit. All aspects of the business must also be housed on one property, and the state’s regulations mandate the cultivation is less than 10,000 square feet.
Council did not discuss whether it would reduce the microbusinesses’ grow square footage to match its cultivation license limit.
Where these businesses will fit within the city’s zoning guidelines has not yet been determined. It also is unclear how council will handle South Lake Tahoe’s lone medical marijuana dispensary, Tahoe Wellness Cooperative, which recently secured a temporary state microbusiness license.
At the same meeting, council decided to allow unlimited cannabis testing facilities, not permit separate distribution licenses (though this is an allowable activity under the microbusiness license), and also to not allow on-site consumption.
Members of council expressed concern about the lack of a definitive test for police to determine intoxication by cannabis. Delivery of product will be allowed as long as it originates from a licensed retail location.
City Council plans to determine who the operators will be by negotiating development agreements that stipulate a percentage of revenue sharing until residents vote on a tax measure. The selection process will be merit-based with a preference for local residents. Council will flesh out the approval process at a future meeting.
Sergio Rudin, a lawyer from Burke, Williams and Sorensen filling in for Nira Doherty, said he would finalize the ordinance and bring it before council at a meeting in May.