Monday, October 15 , 2018, 11:43 pm | Fair 57º


Goleta Council Sets License Fees for Medical-Marijuana Delivery Ordinance

Anyone delivering medical marijuana in Goleta city limits will have some new license fees to pay.

In order to enforce its new marijuana ordinances, the Goleta City Council this week approved charging $125 for a delivery service license and $125 for each driver who must obtain a special license.

Primary caregivers delivering marijuana to patients or qualified patients transporting for their own personal use would be exempt from those license requirements. 

Last month, Goleta officials approved a ban on growing medical marijuana for commercial use and to make delivery services get a permit.

Council members exempted two existing Goleta dispensaries from the ban on growing marijuana, but still requires them to comply with delivery rules, which would regulate vehicles and drivers delivering dry cannabis in the same way the city regulates taxi services.

Like other cities, Goleta was scrambling to enact local ordinances by March 1. Otherwise, the city would give up to the state the authority to regulate under provisions of the Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to eliminate that deadline on Feb. 3, but Santa Barbara County, along with several cities, already adopted ordinances by then.  

“It was a well-intentioned thing but also a little too late,” Goleta City Attorney Tim Giles said.

Goleta’s ordinances went into effect Thursday.    

Cities see the new laws as setting the stage for legalization of recreational marijuana use to be placed on the November ballot.

Goleta currently prohibits any new medical marijuana dispensaries from operating inside city limits or from making deliveries, excluding the two existing dispensaries. A third location is under investigation for possibly violating regulations.

The proposed cultivation ordinance prohibits growing for commercial purposes or in quantities beyond what the state has established for personal use.

Rules wouldn’t apply to cultivation by qualified patients or primary caregivers, and the restrictions are meant to prevent those with previous drug convictions from growing or others from causing a neighborhood nuisance, according to the city.

All applicants for delivery licenses will go through a police background check, and the cost of city staff time is supposed to be recouped through licensing fees.

City staff calculated those costs and this week presented a breakdown of considerations.

In addition to city staff time, the fee for both licenses would include a total of $56 of pass-through costs — $32 California Department of Justice criminal check, $17 FBI criminal check and $7 Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office fingerprint rolling.

By that math, the maximum fees that could be charged were $129.38 for service license fee ($131.12 for renewal) and $125.34 for driver license fee (new and renewal). Staff recommended $125 across the board.

Council also amended the city’s existing bail schedule to allow officers to cite violations of the Cultivation Ordinance and Delivery Ordinance.

Like Goleta, Santa Barbara County's new ordinance was already adopted by the time the deadline was nixed.

That is unchanged by Brown eliminating the deadline, Planning and Development Director Glenn Russell said. 

The County Supervisors can revisit the ordinance in April if they want to make it more or less strict, he added.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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