Truckee town council votes to shorten cannabis prohibition | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Truckee town council votes to shorten cannabis prohibition

Kelsie Longerbeam
klongerbeam@sierrasun.com

After heavy public comment at a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, the Town of Truckee Council went against a staff recommendation and opted for a shorter moratorium on commercial cannabis activity within city limits.

"Just to be clear, I'll vote no if it's 10 and a half months," said council member Patrick Flora during deliberation. "We should get this done sooner, rather than later."

The temporary ban on commercial cannabis business establishment or expansion expires on July 2, but the town council has the power to extend it before that 6-month due date. The council also has the authority to come to a decision on an ordinance before July, which could end the moratorium.

As of Jan. 1, 2018, commercial cannabis is legal in California, but local jurisdictions have the right to decide if they want to allow marijuana businesses. This gives cities the right to either adopt regulations or prohibit the business.

The council earlier voted on Oct. 24 that cannabis and cannabis related products be made available for adults and medicinal use by delivery service only. The decision included that cannabis facilities needed for delivery services be located 1,000 feet from all schools, day care facilities, parks, and also be restricted from downtown districts.

The original staff recommendation was to extend the moratorium 10 months and 15 days to give the council ample time to develop land-use regulations. After many people expressed concern that the lengthy period of cannabis prohibition would surely kill all business, the council agreed to a shorter length of time.

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"I understand you need more time to get the job done here," said Jeff Naughton of Tahoe Meds during public comment. "But if you wait 10 and a half more months to get this job done, you're probably going to lose a significant amount of your businesses … were looking at opportunities elsewhere now."

Truckee town attorney Andy Morris addressed the concern, explaining that cannabis businesses have never technically been allowed to operate in Truckee, but they are legally able to get licensed anywhere else in California. And, neither the moratorium or the new state law allows the town of Truckee to prohibit deliveries.

"All that is prohibited at the moment is you can't operate any kind of commercial cannabis service within the town," Morris said. "But if somebody wanted to be an unincorporated of Placer County or Nevada County, and have their delivery service based there, could they deliver in Truckee? Absolutely."

While the original 10 and a one-half months moratorium would not exactly mean that the council would not come to a decision sooner, the council agreed the best thing to do to address public concern is to set planning expectations at a date that is more reasonable.

"If we do then need to extend the moratorium, we will be doing that in a public meeting, where we can say 'We thought we could get it done in this time, we're not, here is why.' I feel more comfortable with that accountability on us," said council member Morgan Goodwin.

All five members of the Council unanimously voted in favor of the six month temporary ban.

Kelsie Longerbeam is the news, business and environment reporter for the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. She can be contacted at klongerbeam@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2653. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram @kelsielongerbm.