Chico cannabis committee has ordinance in the works

After 9 weeks, the committee has a good idea of the ordinance they want to propose to regulate recreational marijuana sales in the City of Chico.

Posted: Aug 6, 2019 3:08 PM
Updated: Aug 6, 2019 6:02 PM

CHICO, Calif. - California voters said yes to recreational marijuana in 2016.

Nearly three years later, the City of Chico is getting ready to get on board.

"We have a massive debt crisis, an under-funded pensions crisis… to the extent that the city could have more money to clean up the streets and do things that would be a benefit to the residents, I think that would be a good thing," said Miles Rampel, lives in Chico.

9 weeks ago, a committee of community representatives from both sides of the issue started exploring what marijuana sales, production, and distribution would look like for Chico.

Teri Dubose represents the Downtown Chico Business Association.

"I think it's best that we start small and grow from there, based on how it's doing rather than starting really big and trying to reign things back in," Dubose said.

Some people in Chico say that's probably a good idea.

"In terms of increasing the use among the population, I think a slight increase could be expected," Rampel said.

Others say it's about time.

"They sell all the utensils, everything else but the product. Get the product there too, it's legal!" said Randy Lois, who lives in Chico.

The City of Redding brought in dispensaries last year. One man says he's seen some troubling impacts.

"I feel like it's a lot more prevalent in public places, city parks, there's just a lot more marijuana being used," said Dale Porter, who lives in Redding.

After 9 weeks of presentations, the committee's come up with a plan to allow 3 to 5 dispensaries to open up.

Dispensaries would have to be at least 600 feet away from all schools, and at least a 1000 feet away from junior high's and high schools.

There will be challenges.

"Right now it's not federally legal, so there are no banks that will bank the money in our community, I'm concerned about the whole cash aspect of it and the legality of that," Dubose said.

But, the Inland Cannabis Farmer's Association says, recent national legislation has advised credit unions that they won't be penalized for working with cannabis businesses in states they're allowed.

It would be up to city council to decide what tax revenue collected from the new businesses goes toward.

The committee will also recommend a cannabis sales tax to go before the voters.

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