Initial Application Period Now Closed--30 Applications Received
As of March 26, 2018, the City's Initial Application period for Commercial Cannabis Business Permits (CCBP) is now closed. The City received a total of 30 applications for Commercial Cannabis Business Permits during the initial application period (March 5-26, 2018). Those applications include 24 for retail sales/dispensaries (23 of which are combined adult use/medical dispensaries with delivery and 1 medical only with delivery), 2 for cultivation, 2 for manufacturing, and 2 for distribution. (No applications for testing were received.)
Any applications received after March 26, 2018 will be placed on a Waiting List until the applications received in the initial period are processed. Please note that CCBP's for retail sales/dispensaries are limited to only 4 per the City's Ordinance. Therefore, the City expects to award those 4 retail sales permits from the 24 initial applications received, so it is likely that any dispensary applications received after 3/26/18 will remain on the Waiting List indefinitely. Since there is no limit on the number of cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, or testing CCBP's., we will continue to accept applications for those uses and they will be processed as time permits after the 6 initial applications for other uses are processed.
City Planning Staff is currently reviewing all the applications received for completeness and will notify the applicants of any deficiencies to be corrected by April 16, 2018. The applicants will then have 10 days to correct those deficiencies or the application will be automatically denied. After this "Completeness" phase is done, Planning staff will take the applications through the Phase 1 process and all applicants will be notified if they were approved to move on to Phase 2 or not. Phase 2 will involve detailed background checks of all owners and review by the City's Selection Committee of retail sales/dispensaries to determine the top 4 candidates to move onto Planning Commission public hearings. For all other uses, Phase 2 will involve the detailed background checks prior to being scheduled for Planning Commission public hearings.
Cannabis Location Web Mapping Tool Now Available
The City of Merced is excited to launch our Cannabis Location Web Mapping Tool! This tool will help you determine if a particular site is suitable for a cannabis business. By typing in the street address, you will be able to see what the General Plan and Zoning Designations are, if the site is near a sensitive use (i.e., schools, daycare centers, youth centers, etc.), and link to the Cannabis Business Land Use Table to determine if the site is eligible for a cannabis business. Please visit this site and use this tool prior to contacting the City to determine if a site is eligible.
Also, please note the following disclaimer:
"Use of this online tool is intended for informational purposes and is not binding confirmation that a property complies with any or all aspects of the City of Merced’s requirements to obtain a Commercial Cannabis Business Permit. Determinations of zoning compliance, distance from sensitive uses, and other requirements will be made by the Planning Department of the City of Merced in accordance with the regulations set forth by the Merced City Council in Ordinance 2480.
The City of Merced does not have jurisdiction over properties outside its City Limits. To avoid confusion, any property that is searched for outside of the Merced City Limits will return no results.
All Properties within 1,000 feet of a school are shown as “Properties with Inappropriate Zoning for Cannabis Activities” at this time. This is because Dispensaries/Retail Sales are impermissible at this distance. However, some other Cannabis Activities are permissible so long as they are not within 600 feet of a school. This may mean that another Cannabis Activity (Manufacturing, Testing, Cultivation or Distribution) may still be appropriate based on distance from other sensitive uses and the information in Table 20.44-1, Commercial Cannabis Business, from the Merced Cannabis Ordinance 2480.
For any questions regarding this web application, the information contained herein, or regarding the Commercial Cannabis Business permit application process, please contact the City of Merced’s Planning Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 209-385-6858, or in-person on the 2nd Floor of the Merced Civic Center at 678 West 18th Street, Merced, CA 95340 between the hours of 10AM to Noon and 1PM to 5PM Monday through Friday.
Link to Cannabis Location Web Mapping Tool:
Merced Will Begin Accepting Applications for Commercial Cannabis Business Permits (March 5-26, 2018)--NOW CLOSED!
The City of Merced is pleased to announce that the initial application period for Commercial Cannabis Business Permits will be from Monday, March 5, 2018 through Monday, March 26, 2018. Please see the flyer below for details. THE INITIAL APPLICATION PERIOD IS NOW CLOSED!
Application forms are available for download below in the folder entitled "Application Forms and Schedules." (Please note that the applications were revised on 1/31/18 in order to include the Environmental Review Checklist, which needs to be submitted with the application. The environmental application fee for a "Categorical Exemption" is $123 in 2018 and will apply to most applications. However, if new construction is involved with your application, please contact Planning Staff to determine the appropriate level of environmental review.)
If you would like to request a pre-application meeting with City Staff, please download the form from the January 26 workshop below and submit it to the Planning Division at email@example.com
Application Workshop (January 26, 2018)
On Friday, January 26, 2018, the City held a workshop to discuss the application process for Commercial Cannabis Business Permits. The City was very pleased with the turnout of over 130 people interested in our application process. The schedule for submitting applications, the application forms, and maps for determining the distance from sensitive land uses were presented at the workshop. For a copy of the presentation and handouts from the workshop, please see the folder entitled "January 26, 2018 Application Workshop Materials" below.
A web-based application for determining the distance from sensitive land uses will be coming soon...keep checking this page for information on the web-based tool. In the meantime, we have found some errors in the maps that were displayed at the January 26 workshop so they have been removed from the website. When the maps are back up, please note the following disclaimer: "These cannabis maps were prepared for general inquiries only. The City of Merced is not liable for any errors or omissions that may occur. Official information for specific parcels or addresses should be obtained from the City Planning Division by sending the location to firstname.lastname@example.org ."
City Council Approves the Cannabis Ordinance (Effective on January 3, 2018)
On November 20, 2017, the City Council held a public hearing on the proposed Cannabis Ordinance. After the public hearing and discussing all the issues, the City Council, by a 5-2 (5 ayes, 2 noes) vote, introduced Ordinance #2480 with the following changes: a) allowing dispensaries in the Neighborhood Commercial (C-N) zone; b) allowing dispensaries in the Light Industrial (I-L) zones; c) allowing volatile manufacturing in the Light Industrial (I-L) zone; d) allowing adult use dispensaries in the Commercial Office (C-O) zone; and, e) adding some language regarding the "Watson Advisement" regarding driving under the influence to the required signs to be posted in dispensaries. The Ordinance was revised and came back to the City Council for a second reading/adoption on December 4, 2017. That night, Ordinance #2480 was adopted and became effective 30 days later on January 3, 2018. Various documents relating to the Cannabis Ordinance can be downloaded below, including the adopted Ordinance. Ordinance #2480 replaced Ordinance #2464, adopted in 2016.
At its December 18, 2017, meeting, the City Council held a public hearing and considered adoption of a resolution to establish application fees for Commercial Cannabis Business Permits as well as annual regulatory fees for monitoring and enforcement. After the public hearing, the City Council adopted Resolution #2017-67 by a 7-0 vote. Supporting documents are available for download below.
On January 16, 2018, the City Council adopted the Merit-Based Selection Criteria for Dispensaries/Retail Sales. The final Merit-Based Criteria, adopted Resolution, City Council reports, and presentations are available for download below.
Planning Commission Public Hearings (October/November 2017)
A study session was held by the Planning Commission on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, regarding the Draft Ordinance regarding Cannabis Businesses in Merced. A public hearing before the Planning Commission was held on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, but due some technical issues with the appointment of one of our Planning Commissioners, the public hearing was rescheduled for Wednesday, November 8, 2017, for the Planning Commission to make a recommendation to the City Council on the Draft Ordinance. After the public hearing, the Planning Commission recommended to the City Council by at 5-1-1 (5 ayes, 1 no, 1 abstain) vote to approve the Ordinance as proposed with the addition of dispensaries in the Light Industrial (I-L) zone.
A number of public meetings have been held thus far to give input into the process of developing an ordinance and selection process for future medical marijuana businesses in the City. A study session on Proposition 64 was held for the City Council on April 17, 2017 (presentation available for download below). A Community Outreach meeting on medical marijuana issues in the City was held on May 9, 2017 (presentation and flyer available for download below). A study session with the Planning Commission and City Council was held on July 5, 2017 (presentation is available for download below). A second Stakeholder and Community meeting was held on July 12, 2017 (flyer and presentation available for download below).
A Study Session with the City Council and Planning Commission was held on September 12, 2017. See below to download a copy of the agenda packet, which included a DRAFT ordinance (since revised, please refer to the November 8 Planning Commission packet), as well as the presentation. The City Council and Planning Commission gave staff direction for modifications to the ordinance which would allow more commercial cannabis businesses in the City, including commercial cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and adult use dispensaries/retail sales as well as the medical dispensaries.
Preparation of Operating and Licensing Regulations for Cannabis Dispensaries
In February 2017, the City of Merced hired SCI Consulting, Inc., to assist the City with the preparation of the operating and licensing regulations for the medical marijuana dispensaries.