Modesto CA Considering Adding Dispensaries Downtown

All marijuana businesses would need a permit from the council to operate

Modesto is considering allowing as many as 10 dispensaries — including up to three in downtown — as it moves to regulate commercial marijuana. The City Council on Tuesday is expected to discuss and approve regulations governing commercial activities, including cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, microbusinesses, testing facilities and dispensaries. Modesto proposes banning outdoor cultivation and delivery services. Councilman Mani Grewal, who serves on the council ad-hoc committee regarding marijuana regulations, said he expects much of the discussion to center on dispensaries in downtown. “I think that will bring out a lot of people,” he said. “I think a lot of (downtown) stakeholders believe downtown is not the right venue, especially if we want to make downtown more family-friendly and attractive.”

The city’s definition of downtown is expansive, including its core — which is dominated by offices, government buildings, businesses, stores and restaurants — and its northern and southern edges, which are dominated by more industrial uses. Grewal said he is not inclined to support dispensaries in downtown. The council will decide how many, if any, it will allow. The proposed regulations limit cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution to areas in the city zoned for industrial uses. Dispensaries could be in industrial and commercial areas, which could include areas along McHenry Avenue, Oakdale Road, and Yosemite Boulevard.

Modesto also is considering buffers between these businesses and homes, schools, parks and other land uses. For instance, a business would need to be at least 600 feet from schools, day cares and youth centers and 100 feet from residences. The City Council will set the number of permits it will allow for each category of business. Modesto so far has only said it is looking at limiting the number of dispensaries to no more than 10. All marijuana businesses would need a permit from the council to operate. The permit is good for two years.

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