Novato adopts restrictions for cannabis delivery shops

The city of Novato recently passed new restrictions on cannabis delivery shops, which some say could limit the number of jobs that can be created in the area.

Novato adopts restrictions for cannabis delivery shops



Cannabis delivery companies looking to open shop in Novato will suddenly have fewer alternatives according to new municipal limits enacted this week.

On Tuesday, the Novato City Council voted overwhelmingly to compel delivery companies to remain at least 600 feet away from residential zones. At the same time, the council eased limitations on where cannabis testing facilities may be located.

Residents in San Marin voiced concerns earlier this year about a delivery service that wanted to set up shop in their community, prompting the additional limitations.

Justin Pool and Jennifer Durham of Novato acquired a conditional license from the city to open their Highway 420 delivery service at 205 San Marin Drive at the beginning of the year. After encountering substantial opposition from local homeowners who said the site was too close to children at San Marin High School and the Rolling Hills Clubs, they abandoned the plan. Residents were also concerned that the shop might attract criminals.

According to the city’s laws, any cannabis delivery company in the city, including Highway 420, would be closed to the public and would not be able to sell goods. The location also met the statutory 600-foot setback from youth facilities, including the high school and the club, according to the city.

Concerns about the company attracting crime were also dispelled by Police Chief Matthew McCaffrey, who said that crime at these sorts of establishments is frequently proportional to the level of criminality already present in the vicinity. He claimed that crime rates in San Marin were low.

Pool and Durham have yet to locate a new site, but have prospective alternatives in the Bel Marin Keys industrial region, according to Pool. Because of Novato’s significant residential footprint, Pool believes the industrial area will be one of the few places his company and future delivery services can operate.

Pool said, “They’re boxing you into the Bel Marin Keys.” “It is what it is,” says the narrator.

Despite almost 70% of county voters — including a majority of Novato residents — favoring recreational cannabis legalization in 2016, the new limits are another indication of Marin’s cautious attitude to cannabis companies. Cannabis firms and activities are still subject to municipal supervision under the bill.

Although Fairfax has a medical cannabis dispensary, no jurisdiction in the county authorizes recreational cannabis shops. At a later point, Novato intends to consider the potential of legalizing retail sales.

According to Pool, banning cannabis companies would just limit the amount of money that may come into the community. According to him, the money may be used to solve concerns like housing Novato’s homeless population at Lee Gerner Park.

“It’s far past time for all of the counties and localities to start opening it up,” Pool said. “It has been voted to be legalized by the people.”

The City Council also altered its cannabis company laws to allow it greater leeway in deciding where testing labs may be located. The 600-foot setback for testing laboratories from kid-oriented institutions such as schools, youth centers, and playgrounds has been reduced as a result of the adjustment. The range has now been extended to 300 feet.

This amendment was made to enable CB Labs, an established medicinal cannabis testing facility, to apply for a license under the city’s regulations. Since 2015, the lab at 1615 Hill Road has been in compliance with the city’s medicinal cannabis rules.

The lab, on the other hand, is within 600 feet of the Hill Education Center at the Hill Recreation Area, which is in violation of the city’s prior setback requirements, which were implemented in 2019. Unless it can get a license before then, the lab’s municipal permission will expire in December.

Staff advocated a reduced setback for laboratories since they are closed to the public and do not have huge volumes of goods on hand.

Novato Community Development Director Vicki Parker informed the council, “The amount of cannabis onsite is relatively minimal for testing facilities.”

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