The Chula Vista City Council voted on March 6, 2018 to approve adoption of an ordinance permitting, licensing, and regulating cannabis businesses in the City of Chula Vista. The ordinance is conditioned on voter approval of a cannabis business tax measure anticipated to go before voters in November 2018.
Currently, all commercial cannabis activity remains prohibited in the City of Chula Vista. See Chula Vista Municipal Code section 5.66.020. Persons who facilitate or engage in unlawful commercial cannabis activity may be liable for civil penalties in an amount of up to $10,000 per day. Additionally, the City’s municipal code now authorizes criminal prosecution of violations as misdemeanors. NOTE: Persons who have engaged in or facilitated unlawful cannabis activity will be prohibited from qualifying for cannabis business licenses in the City of Chula Vista.
SUMMARY OF COMMERCIAL CANNABIS ORDINANCE
Cannabis Business Applications
If the November 2018 cannabis business tax measure passes, the City anticipates that it will begin accepting applications for cannabis business licenses sometime on or after January 1, 2019. The City will provide further public information about the application process and deadlines after November 6, 2018.
Cannabis Business License Types
The City’s commercial cannabis ordinance would authorize the following types and number of licenses:
Storefront and Non-Storefront Retailers: Up to three (3) Retailer licenses per Council District. Of the three (3) Retailer licenses per District, no more than two (2) may be Storefront Retailer Licenses. Storefront Retailers are open to the public; they are prohibited from providing delivery services. Non-Storefront Retailers are closed to the public; they are prohibited from making on-site sales and can only conduct deliveries.
Cultivation: Up to ten (10) Indoor Cultivation licenses city-wide. Indoor cultivation sites are limited to twenty thousand (20,000) square feet.
Distribution, Manufacturing, and Testing Laboratories: There are no limits on the number of licenses.
State law requires that all cannabis delivery businesses have both a state license and local authorization. Chula Vista Municipal Code section 5.66.030 currently permits the delivery of cannabis or cannabis products, but only where delivery originates from a cannabis business licensed by another jurisdiction outside of Chula Vista.
The City’s commercial cannabis ordinance would continue to allow delivery originating from a licensed cannabis business outside of Chula Vista and permit up to eight (8) licensed Non-Storefront Retailers (i.e., cannabis delivery businesses) to locate in the City of Chula Vista.
Cannabis delivery by any other persons or entities is prohibited in the City of Chula Vista.
Chula Vista Municipal Code section 5.19.060 sets forth cannabis business location requirements. Please be aware that the City is unable to provide certification, advice, or information about the suitability of any specific property address at this time. Applicants are responsible for evaluating properties and demonstrating that they are compliant with City zoning and separation requirements as part of the licensing process. The City does not anticipate that it will evaluate or certify any proposed property location until an applicant has successfully completed initial application processing.
ENFORCMENT AGAINST ILLEGAL OPERATORS
The City remains committed to enforcement against unlicensed and unlawful cannabis businesses. The City currently has enforcement actions, including lawsuits, pending against the following properties based on alleged unlawful commercial cannabis activity:
1161 Third Avenue
1249 Third Avenue
1274 Third Avenue
1283 Third Avenue
1421 Hilltop Drive
591 H Street
869 Anchorage Place
Persons who facilitate or engage in unlawful commercial cannabis activity may be liable for civil penalties in an amount of up to $10,000 per day. Additionally, the City’s municipal code now authorizes criminal prosecution of violations as misdemeanors.