SLO will start accepting marijuana business applications starting next year

Cannabis 101: Here’s what you need to know about recreational marijuana

Budtender Danny Cress gives a crash course in recreational marijuana, legal in California as of Jan. 1.
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Budtender Danny Cress gives a crash course in recreational marijuana, legal in California as of Jan. 1.

Anyone planning to open a cannabis business in the city of San Luis Obispo can apply for a business license and permit starting Jan. 7.

Last month, the City Council approved a set of policy guidelines, including a fee structure and application criteria, for prospective cannabis businesses in the city.

The period to file an application will last until Jan. 29 and will be ranked via a point system for individuals or businesses seeking approval, according to the city. Those with the highest ranks will have the best chance for approval.

The application fee will be $22,519, but most businesses will only be required to submit a deposit of $7,431 with the balance due once an operator permit is issued, the city said. Annual permit fees range from $65,890 to $90,575.

Fees are designed to cover the city’s costs to administer and police cannabis operations, as well as ensure public safety.

The city is limiting retail store permits to three, and the total amount of business space for cultivation is capped at 70,000 square feet. No one cultivation business can be larger than 10,000 square feet.

There is no limitation on permits for manufacturing, distribution, testing and non-storefront retail (delivery only),” the city wrote in a press release. “Once an operator permit is issued, a land use permit for specific business sites will also be needed.”

IMG_mj_pots_4_1_L2D7K0T2_L370208522 (1)
Marijuana plants grow in rows in a South County greenhouse. The city of San Luis Obispo has set its criteria and fees for operating a cannabis business. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Depending on the type of business, applications will need to include the following:

A business operations plan including projected costs of location from application through opening, state licenses, tax compliance, insurance, budget, financial capacity and a product list.

Site and floor plans for each level of each building that makes up the business site.

Detailed safety and security plan including hazardous materials management plan.

Documentation that the business has identified reliable and efficient energy solutions.

Information demonstrating the site has a sufficient water supply for the use and how wastewater will be minimized.

Plan describing how the applicant will prevent odors from escaping the business site that are generated from the cultivation manufacturing and storage of cannabis.

Information about the business’ commitment to local hiring, sourcing and community support.

Plan describing the type of cannabis education and prevention efforts that will be provided by the business to the community.

Those who have previously operated a local cannabis business in SLO County will be given extra points to qualify for a license, as well.

City oversight of the industry includes operations monitoring, training, education and inspections among other activities to encourage strict regulatory compliance.

For more information, visit www.slocity.org/cannabis/.

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.