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April 8, 2020

Hollister OKs sale of recreational cannabis

The Hollister City Council voted  unanimously June 3 to allow recreational cannabis to be sold in the city, adopting a new cannabis ordinance without the word “medical.”

The decision came after several council meetings and numerous town halls, where the council proceeded with caution and asked the city staff come back with revised versions of the proposal each time.

While allowing recreational cannabis to be sold was the biggest change made to the ordinance at the June 3 meeting, there were also several minor changes to the existing ordinance that the council voted to approve.

The new ordinance created three major changes:

  • an existing cannabis dispensary can apply for a delivery license within the city
  • no cannabis sales will be permitted between 10pm and 6am
  • deliveries from other jurisdictions with a permit approved by the council

City staff had argued that with California’s Adult Use Marijuna Act taking effect, there was no difference in medical and recreational sales and that not allowing recreational sales would drive down businesses for the two dispensaries set to open in the city this month.

In Hollister, 60 percent of residents voted to approve recreational cannabis use.

At an April 22 council meeting, City Manager Bill Avera told the council that the city was currently “breaking even”on cannabis revenues. Maria Mendez, cannabis affairs manager for the city, previously estimated that with recreational and medical sales, the city could collect $5.5 million annually in fees, but with just medical sales the projected revenue would be $1.375 million.

There are two storefront dispensaries set to open in Hollister, which is currently the maximum allowed.

Mayor Ignacio Velazquez, who had been critical of the ordinance in the past and said he wanted to move forward cautiously, thanked the staff and business owners who had given input over the past months.

“Thank you for taking the time, giving us tours, making sure we’re following the rules,” said Velazquez. “I know this isn’t going to be perfect, but I think we’re getting close to doing a really good job.”

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