CALEXICO — The Calexico City Council on Nov. 20 quietly gave final approval to raising from seven to 12 the number of retail commercial cannabis permits available in the city, despite not knowing if the state will allow that many.
The measure will take
effect 30 days from the vote.
The measure, one of two
cannabis-related issues voted on, was approved unanimously as part of the
consent agenda in which multiple items are passed in one vote with no
The other cannabis item
approved was removing industrial hemp from the definition of cannabis. It was
also part of the consent agenda.
Raising the number of retail cannabis permits was preliminarily approved Nov. 6 following a public hearing and a 3-1 council vote. Council Member Lewis Pacheco opposed the measure and Council Member Morris Reisen was absent.
Along with the seven current
retail permits, the five additional retail permits can be used for storefronts,
non-storefronts (delivery services) or microbusinesses.
Much of the prior council
discussion on increasing retail permits involved whether it made sense to
approve raising their number if the state still had not issued its
At the Nov. 6 council
meeting 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 said he believed
that Calexico, with around 40,000 residents, would only be allowed four retail
permits and, as such, asked what the point would be in approving more permits
before the state rendered its decision.
The city has awarded the
first seven retail permits to perspective operators. However, none of those
projects have even opened and one, issued to Movocan, was recently revoked by
the city Planning Commission for alleged inactivity.
The vote on industrial hemp was intended to bring city ordinances in line with the federal 2018 Farm Bill, which decriminalized industrial hemp and allowed it to be grown as any other agricultural commodity.