Sacramento is one step closer to legalizing the manufacture of pot cookies, brownies and other goods after a proposal cleared a key City Council committee Tuesday.
Under the proposal, marijuana manufacturing facilities would only exist in enclosed buildings in commercial zones and could not exceed 6,400 square feet. By state law, they could not be within 600 feet of a school.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Councilman Jay Schenirer, who crafted the ordinance. “But on manufacturing, it’s the potential for thousands of jobs, increased revenue and replacing illegal business with legal.”
Similar to what the council will consider for cultivation licenses, manufacturers would be regulated with site-specific restrictions. Licenses would also need to include a “neighborhood responsibility plan” that will likely involve businesses contributing 1 percent of gross annual revenue to its neighborhood, though such details are still being worked out. That fee would be in addition to the city’s regular 4 percent business tax.
The proposed law would also apply to recreational and medical marijuana manufacturing after statewide passage of Proposition 64, which legalizes recreational use of marijuana in California. Schenirer said it was important to incorporate recreational use into ordinances so the city doesn’t “have to come back and do it again.”
Some community members raised concerns.
“I’ve got districts that are struggling,” said David Plag, executive director of the Del Paso Boulevard Partnership. “These kinds of manufacturing facilities ... don’t do anything for the boulevard. It doesn’t do anything for retail.”
Hagginwood Community Association president Jody Sizer said during the hearing that she was concerned about code violations and the inability of officers to handle the marijuana workload.
“These guys are trying to keep up, but they are so far behind in everything,” said Sizer of the city’s code enforcement officers.
Schenirer said licensing fees from the businesses could fund more code enforcement and law enforcement officers.
The manufacturing ordinance will likely not be heard by the full council until January.
The separate proposal allowing commercial marijuana cultivation was pulled from Tuesday’s City Council agenda. It will likely face a vote Nov. 22.