CALEXICO — The Calexico City Council was to consider the final approval of two cannabis-related amendments to existing city ordinances Nov. 20, including one that would raise the number of retail cannabis permits from seven to 12.
The second ordinance
amendment to be considered for final approval was removing industrial hemp from
the definition of cannabis.
Votes on both matters,
which are part of the council’s consent agenda, were to occur after this
newspaper’s deadline. The consent agenda is where numerous issues are approved
by the council in one motion and one vote, with no discussion.
Raising the number of
retail cannabis permits was preliminarily approved during the council’s Nov. 6
meeting following a public hearing and a vote that split the council 3-1.
Council Member Lewis Pacheco voted against raising the number of permits, while
Council Member Morris Reisen was absent.
Number of Permits
Much of the discussion
surrounding the retail permits on Nov. 6 involved whether it made sense to
approve raising their number if the state still had not issued its “over-concentration
City Attorney Carlos
Campos explained that is the number of retail permits a city could have based
on its population. A current example being used is the state would allow one
retail permit for every 10,000 residents.
Pacheco believed that
Calexico, with around 40,000 residents, would only be allowed four retail permits
and, as such, what the point would be in approving more permits before the
state rendered its decision.
The city now has seven
retail permits on the books, and six of them have been approved by the city and
state so far.
All seven had been
approved as of the last council meeting, but since then, a retail permit
awarded to Movocan was revoked by the city’s Planning Commission on Nov. 12.
The action came because the permit holder was said to be in violation of Section
30 of its conditional-use permit, which says a company must be open six months
after the permit is issued.
Other retail permit
holders are technically in violation of Section 30 because no retail cannabis businesses
are open yet. However, Calexico City Manager David Dale said all the other
permit holders have kept the city apprised of where they are in the process of
opening, while Movocan allegedly did not respond to the city’s repeated
attempts to get a status on its progress.
Vote on Hemp
Meanwhile, the council
will consider final approval on removing industrial hemp from the definition of
cannabis, an action that is more procedural. As a consultant working with the
city explained to the council Nov. 6 before it preliminarily approved the
change, the action was intended to bring city ordinances in line with the 2018 federal
Farm Bill. It decriminalized industrial hemp federally to allow it to be grown
as any other agricultural commodity.
officials, economic development experts and some farmers have identified hemp
as the county’s next major crop.
In other city business Nov. 20, Calexico Mayor Bill Hodge was scheduled to appoint his representative to the city Business Improvement District board. Hodge said Nov. 18 he intended to name Jaime D. Jimenez, marketing manager for Canal 66, a television station in Mexicali.
Hodge said Jimenez, who
he had not spoken to as of Nov. 18, has an office on Imperial Avenue and is a
Calexico resident. Hodge said it was important to choose a businessman from the
Imperial Avenue corridor as not to have uneven representation between Imperial
Avenue businesses and downtown businesses.
The council was to also
consider appointing one council member and Assistant City Manager Miguel
Figueroa to the newly created Imperial Valley Southern Border Committee.
Hodge, who said he would
lobby the council to appoint him, said the committee is a creation of Imperial
County Board of Supervisors, specifically Calexico-area Supervisor Jesus
information provided by Dale in the Nov. 20 meeting agenda, there are nine
Calexico-area vacancies on the committee, including one seat from each board
representing the Calexico Unified School District, the Heffernan Memorial
Healthcare District, Calexico City Council and Calexico city manager/assistant
city manager/city manager designee, and five for Calexico residents at large.