California Cannabis Countdown: City of Davis

Davis California cannabis
Davis California

California has 58 counties and 482 incorporated cities across the state, each with the option to create its own rules or ban marijuana altogether. In this California Cannabis Countdown series, we plan to cover who is banning, who is waiting, and who is embracing California’s change to legalize marijuana — permits, regulations, taxes and all. For each city and county, we’ll discuss its location, history with cannabis, current law, and proposed law to give you a clearer picture of where to locate your cannabis business, how to keep it legal, and what you will and won’t be allowed to do.

Our last California Cannabis Countdown post was on the City of Santa Rosa, and before that that County and City of San BernardinoMarin CountyNevada County, the City of Lynwood, the City of CoachellaLos Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, the City of Desert Hot SpringsSonoma County, the City of Sacramento, the City of BerkeleyCalaveras CountyMonterey County and the City of Emeryville.

Welcome to the California Cannabis Countdown.

LocationDavis is a city in Yolo County (please don’t yell “YOLO”). Within close proximity to California’s capital and home to UC Davis – one of the top 50 universities in the United States – the city of Davis has become an attractive destination for those in Northern California looking for affordable housing and a high quality (pun perhaps intended) of life. Davis also recently got a big shout-out from one of its native sons, Hasan Minhaj.

History with Cannabis and Current Cannabis Laws. Traditionally we focus on bigger localities (which Davis is not) in our Cannabis Countdown series but whenever a new locale enacts a cannabis ordinance we try to highlight them. Historically, Davis took a prohibitionist stance towards cannabis – which was surprising considering UC Davis’ agricultural history (I’m sure living alumni are glad it’s no longer called University Farm). After the California Legislature adopted the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (then known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act) the Davis City Council passed Ordinance No. 2467 on January 19, 2016, prohibiting commercial cultivation and personal outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana throughout the city. The Davis City Council then expanded on the prohibition On November 1st, 2016 (7 days prior to passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Ac) and then expanded on Ordinance 2488 and approved an interim moratorium on the establishment, creation, or expansion of any commercial cannabis uses and outdoor cultivation, with the intent to add commercial recreational cannabis as a prohibited activity. With Sacramento and nearby Sonoma County having favorable and well regulated cannabis ordinances on the books, it wasn’t likely Davis would continue with its ban of commercial cannabis activity, especially medical cannabis.

Proposed Cannabis LawsOn June 6 of this year, the Davis City Council adopted an ordinance permitting commercial cannabis manufacturing research, and distribution in properly zoned districts in Davis. Here are a couple of the ordinance’s highlights:

  • The ordinance allows for manufacturing non-hazardous and hazardous but non-volatile materials. The permitting process for hazardous materials will require additional precautionary measures.
  • The ordinance allows laboratories and research facilities to include limited cultivation on site so long as the cultivation is done strictly for research purposes.
  • A cannabis distribution facility is defined as any facility engaged in the procurement, temporary storage, non-retail sales, and transport of cannabis or cannabis products between State-licensed cannabis businesses, including warehouses and similar structures.

Though Davis’ ordinance isn’t as welcoming to cannabis businesses as those of some of its neighboring jurisdictions it’s better than nothing and history would indicate cities often like to dip their toes in the cannabis pool before diving right in. Just this Tuesday Davis’ City Council asked for feedback and direction for developing an ordinance that would cover dispensaries, delivery services, and commercial cultivators. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as Davis continues on with its road to enlightenment.

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