City of Santa Rosa Cannabis Program

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On December 19, 2017, the City Council unanimously adopted the City’s Comprehensive Cannabis Ordinance.  The regulations address the locational and operational requirements for personal cannabis cultivation and commercial cannabis businesses, covering allowances for both medical and adult use.   The ordinance goes into effect on January 19, 2018.  For more information on the new regulations go to the Comprehensive Cannabis Policy Page.

Non-retail applications:

The City is accepting land use applications for non-retail cannabis businesses.  Applications for adult use and/or volatile manufacturing (Type 7) will be accepted on or after January 19, 2018.

Retail applications:  

The City's Cannabis Retail Application Period for dispensaries and microbusinesses with retail closed on April 20, 2018. A total of 38 Cannabis Retail applications were filed during the two-week period. See the Commercial Cannabis Application Support page for a comprehensive outline of the Cannabis Retail Application process and for additional application support tools.  

  • Applications.  A total of 38 Cannabis Retail conditional use permit applications were filed during the application period.  The complete process for these applications is described in the City’s Cannabis Retail Use Application Process Guide.  The site address, application status, and planner contact for each application can be accessed here:
  • Neighborhood Meetings.  A total of 30 prospective retail sites are located near residential uses and therefore required a City staff-facilitated Neighborhood Meeting. As of June 25, 2018, staff completed all 30 of these neighborhood meetings. Public comments and questions collected in these meetings will be integrated into the staff analysis and public review process for the project. 
  • Completeness Review.  City staff completed its review of the applications to ensure that all submittal requirements identified in the checklists were met.  Applicants were allotted 21 calendar days to respond to any items deemed missing, incomplete, or insufficient. Staff reviewed revised application materials and deemed 37 applications as complete. One application was disqualified due to untimely filing.  
  • Overconcentration Review.  Applications deemed complete within the prescribed time period were also evaluated for potential overconcentration. 
    • Competitive track.  If a proposed location is within 600 feet of another proposed or existing retail location, then the project will enter a competitive merit point based process.  Applications are ranked by score, and the City Council’s Cannabis Policy Subcommittee will select the highest ranked applications to move forward in the conditional use permit review process. 21 applications representing 7 areas of potential overconcentration were identified for this track.
    • Non-competitive track.  If a proposed location is not within an area of potential overconcentration, then the application will proceed with the use permit review process.
      16  applications were identified for this track and will now proceed with the use permit review process.
  • Conditional Use Permit Review Process.  This process involves public noticing, staff analysis, issue identification and resolution, preparation of a Department recommendation, and a public hearing with the City’s Planning Commission.  An action by the Planning Commission may be appealed to the City Council.  In addition to public noticing, any interested person may monitor the progress of an application through Permit Santa Rosa and by signing up for e-mail alerts. 
  • Next Opportunity to Apply. As noted in the Retail Application Process Guide, new applications for Cannabis Retail will not be accepted until further notice to allow City staff sufficient time to process the initial set of applications. It is anticipated that once this initial set of applications, including those selected through the competitive track, are well under way in the use permit process, the City will move into accepting applications on a first come, first served basis; Date to be determined. 

In 2018, the City will focus on the implementation stage of the City’s Cannabis Program.  The City is in the process of developing the staff and program support tools needed to ensure that the Program is effective in its permitting, outreach and education, monitoring, taxation and enforcement. 

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