by Kayla Pace
New cannabis policy has come to the City of Davis. On December 6th, the City Council met in the community chambers and discussed an extension for the emergency moratorium on all commercial cannabis uses that was passed November 1st, 2016. The moratorium that was passed a month ago does not apply to the deliveries and collectives that are currently serving the needs of the local Davis patient community.
The proposal brought forth by staff to the City Council included a comprehensive plan to investigate the feasibility of several types of permitted medical cannabis uses within city limits, including dispensaries, manufacturing and testing facilities.
During this week’s meeting there was a suggested direction from City Council to prioritize outdoor cultivation regulations first with an overall moratorium extension set initially for October 2017. Councilmember Will Arnold moved to end the moratorium on July 4th, 2017 to be on par with other regional and industry developments, citing the local voter support for Proposition 64, legalizing adult use cannabis consumption and possession, on November 8th.
This moratorium reduction would also give outside business interests the opportunity to pitch in at the grassroots level in the community decision making process, which is key for development in places like Davis. Councilmember Rochelle Swanson seconded the motion. The amended extension and addition passed 4-1, with Councilmember Brett Lee as the “No” vote.
The Council is looking for local input to inform future recommendations concerning the cannabis community. Staff was instructed by City Council to launch a robust outreach effort, with the local patient community at the forefront to ensure their input is prioritized. There will also be community workshops covering specific policy topics, which will be determined by the beginning of 2017.
All of this input, along with policy research and guidelines once collected will be consolidated by city staff and presented as official policy recommendations in March 2017 to the planning commission and council. This will allow the Commissioners and Councilmembers time to form a decision on the recommendations, with a final vote by April or May 2017. These new policies and ordinances need a window of time before they can become law, hence early action before the July 4th directive.
The Davis community model that is forming for cannabis could potentially be a leading model for cities and counties statewide, but the job rests on local consumers, growers, businesses, and community members alike to keep pressure on our leaders for sensible policies. City staff will conduct coordinated outreach efforts, but, with few specifics, it is vital for our communities to keep an eye out on how and where to provide input if our regional cannabis cluster is to flourish in years to come.
Kayla Pace has been a long time advocate for social justice, part of which was serving in the Davis area while attending the University of California, Davis where she studied Psychology and Sociology. She is Community Engagement Coordinator for Integrate Cal Community Partners.