South Lake Tahoe recreational pot ban extended; proposed regulations to be released soon
January 24, 2018
South Lake Tahoe City Council voted on Tuesday to extend the 45-day moratorium on adult-use cannabis sales and other activities, but the hope is to get local regulations for the industry in place by May.
Council unanimously approved an extension of the temporary ban by the legally-required 10 months and 45 days (though the ban can be repealed before then).
In two weeks, however, council will discuss amending the ordinance to create an exception to the ban should the city reach a development agreement with a potential operator.
"A development agreement is an agreement between the business owner and the local jurisdiction, in this case the city, that spells out how the business is going to be run, and in that agreement, there can be an agreement on some form of revenue," said Councilmember Brooke Laine during the Jan. 23 council meeting. "That could be based on square footage of the business; it could be based on gross receipts, net receipts."
The goal, according to Laine, is to get the wheels in motion for potential operators while the lengthy process of reading and approving an ordinance for recreational cannabis plays out.
Keeping the ban in place during this process prevents operators from applying for a state license to open a business in South Lake Tahoe prior to having the local rules established. The state can issue licenses as long as there are no local regulations preventing it.
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Meanwhile, the city's cannabis subcommittee, made up of 15 community stakeholders and councilmembers Laine and Tom Davis, has its final meeting on Thursday. The group has met five times since October.
The subcommittee is preparing to make recommendations to the South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission and the City Council on local regulations for recreational cannabis sales, cultivation, manufacturing and testing. The group plans to enact stricter guidelines than the state on most items, including signs, security, location and number of dispensaries allowed.
Laine said the subcommittee is leaning toward testing the waters with development agreements before considering going to the voters for an additional local tax on top of the state taxes for cultivation and distribution.
A final report of the recommendations will be posted to the city's website no later than Jan. 31.
Laine outlined a potential timeline for forming and passing the recreational cannabis regulations, which includes a possible community workshop on the subcommittee's recommendations on Feb. 20 and a tentative presentation to the Planning Commission on March 20.
First and second readings of the ordinance could take place in March and April, with the ordinance becoming law sometime in May.
The next City Council meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 6.