With the new year fast approaching, Hollister will be a different place when it comes to the holy green.
The Hollister City Council and other jurisdictions across California have taken steps to prepare for recreational cannabis, a new industry that is expected to bring more than $5 billion to the state. This article aims to help clarify what’s currently going on in Hollister, San Juan Bautista and San Benito County.
But first, let’s back up a bit.
In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized recreational cannabis throughout the state. The law makes it legal for adults 21 and over to buy, possess, use, share and transport up to one ounce of cannabis. The law also allows for personal cultivation of up to six plants for personal use. The state is expected to have a regulatory framework in place and start issuing business permits by January 1.
In June, Governor Jerry Brown approved Senate Bill 94, which repealed the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and consolidated medical and recreational cannabis under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation Safety Act.
Unlike neighboring cities, Gilroy and San Juan Bautista, which balked at regulating pot, Hollister City council approved a medical cannabis ordinance in December 2016.
But it wasn’t until recently that businesses were approved for operation.
The city council approved Purple Cross Rx to operate one of two medical cannabis dispensary spots in town at an August meeting. The dispensary will be located at 1785 San Felipe Road alongside California Finest Manufacturing, the manufacturing arm of the operation.
A second dispensary spot was awarded to Monterey Bay Alternative Medicine in October. They will operate a dispensary at 773 San Felipe Road.
In November, the city council approved numerous cannabis businesses to operate within city limits come January 1, including California Finest Manufacturing for medical cannabis manufacturing at 1785 San Felipe Road, High Class Distribution for distribution at 1971 Airway Drive, YHL Inc. (another iteration of High Class Distribution) for manufacturing at 1971 Airway Drive, Hollister Holistics for manufacturing and cultivation at both 1802 Shelton Drive and 1650 Lana Way, LLXP Corporation for manufacturing and cultivation at 1971 Airway Drive, Traditional Roots for manufacturing and cultivation at 1091 San Felipe Road, Pacific Organics and Wellness (another iteration of Hollister Holistics) for distribution at 1802 Shelton Drive, and Agripharma Extraction and Nursery for manufacturing and cultivation at 1851 Airway Drive.
The building at 817 Industrial Drive was the location for three potential cannabis businesses earlier this year, but all were denied permits by the city council after members of the public raised concern over the site’s proximity to places where youth gather, such as Crossfit San Benito and Rovella’s Gym.
On December 18, the city council is scheduled to hear a potential cannabis cultivator and manufacturer Euphoric Life, Inc. for neighboring property 807 Industrial Drive, up until recently owned by a trust where a member of Councilman Karson Klauer’s family is a beneficiary.
San Juan Bautista bans cannabis
At a November 21 meeting, the San Juan Bautista City Council voted to temporarily ban all cannabis sales, cultivation and delivery within city limits.
The ordinance is intended as a stop gap while an ad hoc committee comprised of Mayor Chris Martorana and Councilman Dan De Vries hammers out a permanent pot ordinance.
The City of San Juan Bautista previously established a medical cannabis dispensary ban in 2011, but up until last week nothing had been established to address recreational.
The city council held a joint public meeting with the San Juan Bautista Planning Commission to discuss the draft cannabis ordinance on Wednesday, December 6.
San Benito County
While the city jurisdictions race to get local control, San Benito County lags behind.
The Board of Supervisors is currently working to ban any and all existing commercial cannabis activity—medical or recreational—in the unincorporated area of the county. A first reading of the ban was approved at a November meeting and is set to come back for a second reading and possible adoption on December 12.
The ban will remain in place for the foreseeable future until the board of supervisors goes over a permanent cannabis business ordinance sometime in April 2018.
The county is also working on a registration system for the six plant personal use allowance and a fee structure. The county is requesting the 28 applicants who went through an amortization process over the last year to “abate” themselves, including collectives already in operation under Proposition 215 medical cannabis guidelines and serving patients in other counties.