Opening marijuana storefronts in Pleasant Hill up for debate

Bay Area

PLEASANT HILL (KRON) — In a staff report, the planning commission in the City of Pleasant Hill recommends the city council allow up to two medical retail cannabis dispensaries to operate within city limits.

Currently, only cannabis deliveries originating from outside of the city are allowed. Although the state has approved cannabis sales, local governments are responsible for adopting and enforcing local ordinances to either allow the legal sale and cultivation of marijuana or prohibit those operations.

Two years ago, the City of Pleasant Hill issued a moratorium on the issue, which will expire in December. If it expires, state law applies, and the city will no longer have control. On Monday, the council countered the planning commission’s recommendation.

“The direction from council to our staff was to take a look at non-storefronts, meaning delivery operations into Pleasant Hill from businesses that we would license in Pleasant Hill, for up to two non storefront operations,” said Mayor Ken Carlson.

Mayor Carlson says the council is reluctant to amend zoning ordinances to allow storefront cannabis dispensaries.

The planning commission proposed locating them in the city”s retail business districts along Contra Costa Boulevard and near Buskirk Avenue.

But since Carlson says people can get cannabis from neighboring cities, it’s not clear there’s a need for dispensaries in Pleasant Hill.

“It’s that unknown element of who those customers would be, who would stay in front of the stores, would there be illegal sales, you know, just the past conversations that have gone on about cannabis,” the mayor said.

Carlson says the council will revisit the issue in June.

He says a decision will have to be made shortly after, before the moratorium on dispensaries expires at the end of the year.

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