Updated at 10:35 pm: Sacramento City Council members voted unanimously to approve agenda items 20 and 22, addressing cannabis policy ahead of the state's Jan. 1 legal sales of adult-use (recreational) marijuana.
The votes on those items came 10:30 p.m., more than 5.5 hours after the meeting's 5 p.m. start time.
Cannabis-relates business are welcome to submit their applications tomorrow, Mayor Darrell Steinberg clarified.
Regulating recreational marijuana is no easy task.
The Sacramento City Council discussed major cannabis-related policy issues at their meeting Tuesday night.
January 1 marks the date California will start allowing the sale of recreational marijuana.
Not every city and county in the state are opting into this, but the city of Sacramento has been working to lay out a basic framework by January 1.
"There's no prescription for this, no city in the state have done what we've done," City Councilman Jay Schenirer said Tuesday.
One cannabis item approved Tuesday establishes a cannabis Equity Program, which makes it easier for minority communities to benefit from the sale of recreational marijuana.
Plans call for a small business support center, waiving permit fees for qualified people and a mentoring program for women and minorities that want to develop a cannabis business.
Currently, the city has 30 medical marijuana dispensaries, and there's a freeze on the number of dispensary storefronts allowed in Sacramento. That means come January 1, Sacramentans won't see a bunch of new storefronts popping up.
The city's so-called "pot czar" Joe Devlin has told ABC10 News he believes only about half of those existing medical dispensaries will qualify under the more stringent requirements to sell recreational cannabis products.
As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the city was also set to vote on delivery-only dispensaries, with no storefronts.
They were also scheduled to vote on establishing a tiered manufacturing permit system. In other words, they'll decide whether to lower the cost of permits for smaller businesses. Currently, a permit for any cannabis-related business, big or small, costs about $30,900. A tiered permitting system could make it as inexpensive as $3,000, Devlin said, for certain small businesses to open.
California's recreational marijuana industry is poised to bring in billions of dollars in coming years, and Sacramento leaders want small businesses to get a piece of that, not just large corporations.
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