Conscious Consideration Vista approves medical cannabis delivery

The city of Vista has decided to allow medical cannabis delivery. Vista’s 11 licenses for cannabis storefronts were approved to conduct medical cannabis deliveries during a city council meeting on June 25. While cannabis was a hot topic at the meeting, not all residents showed up in support of reconsidering Vista’s current Cannabis-Related Uses Moratorium, which bans certain cannabis operations through December.

Local Vista residents voted in favor of Measure Z during the November 2018 general election, allowing up to 11 storefront medical cannabis businesses. The moratorium in place disallows for cannabis-related businesses that are not regulated under Measure Z, however, the moratorium was reconsidered during this meeting. City Assistant Manager Aly Zimmermann provided the staff report regarding the cannabis-related topics for discussion, which included cannabis delivery, cultivation and testing labs. Zimmermann explained that reconsidering these topics now would give Vista time to enact new regulations, if needed, before the moratorium expires.

Zimmermann reminded the council and meeting attendees that under new California state law, out-of-city cannabis delivery companies are allowed to deliver cannabis to Vista’s residents. In order to obtain taxes for the city and also give an advantage to the 11 storefronts permitted in the city, many felt it was important for Vista to allow its storefronts to deliver cannabis as well.

There was opposition to the consideration of allowing items like delivery, which were prohibited under the city’s moratorium. Multiple Vista residents spoke out in opposition of expanding medical cannabis operations in the city. Most concerns were addressed around youth access to cannabis and other sensitive communities.

“Mostly because there are a lot of delivery stores from Santa Ana that drive south to Vista and deliver to its residences, and Santa Ana gets the sales tax revenue, and the city of Santa Ana gets benefits of the growth of [its] industry.”

 

Vista resident Mike Irwin also contributed to the discussion, explaining how the city of Vista and its 11 licensees for cannabis storefronts approved under Measure Z are missing a huge opportunity if they do not allow medical cannabis delivery. “Regarding delivery, that’s a big one for the economic advantage or disadvantage for the 11 storefronts that have been approved,” Irwin said. “Mostly because there are a lot of delivery stores from Santa Ana that drive south to Vista and deliver to its residences, and Santa Ana gets the sales tax revenue, and the city of Santa Ana gets benefits of the growth of [its] industry.”

He continued to explain that although he supports Measure Z, he believes the legislation misses the mark when it comes to delivery, because the businesses approved under the measure are ultimately at a disadvantage. Irwin wrapped up his point by explaining how elderly, sick and disabled residents in Vista are the ones who will benefit most from being able to obtain medical cannabis without leaving their homes.

Zimmermann shared in this sentiment, explaining that storefronts would be at a disadvantage if residents choose out-of-town deliveries instead of local dispensaries. “We’d be working with those jurisdictions […] that allow permitted delivery and working with them to identify those systems to track and trace the seed to sale,” said Zimmermann. “And work with them to collect on those deliveries into Vista.”

The city staff’s report did not recommend allowing cannabis cultivation in the city. However, the city staff considered the possibility of allowing businesses that distribute, manufacture and test cannabis. Ultimately, the council decided to remove cannabis delivery from the moratorium, but no other action was taken regarding cannabis. Medical cannabis deliveries will be allowed for residents who are ages 21 and older.

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