Community Concerns: Cannabis

Dear District 3 Residents,

I have received some questions from the community about the city’s efforts to allow cannabis businesses in Pomona. Concerns are understandable, and I would like to share the current status of the City’s work as we move toward legalization of a limited number of cannabis businesses in the city.

I first want to assure you that there will be no retail sale of cannabis in District 3. This was decided almost from the beginning of the cannabis conversation in Pomona.

Page two of the staff report given at the Joint Study Session on May 1, 2019, under the Zoning subheading, clearly states that “To date, the discussions call for allowing cannabis businesses in commercial and industrial zones, excluding the Downtown and the Fairplex and prohibiting retail sales in Council District 3.”

Retail, however, is not the only type of cannabis business under consideration. The types of commercial cannabis businesses defined in the ordinance are: indoor cultivation, manufacturing, testing, distribution, retail storefront, and microbusiness of medicinal and adult-use cannabis and cannabis products, as well as the ancillary transportation and delivery of cannabis or cannabis products. Currently, District 3 is overlaid for manufacturing, testing, and distribution. In simplest terms, District 3 is being considered for warehousing, safety and quality control, and production.

There are currently many checks and balances in place such as requiring cultivation indoors only, limiting certain businesses to the M zone, odor control regulations, licensing requirements, and making sure that cannabis businesses are at least 1,000 feet from sensitive use areas. On page 2 of the staff report, under subsection Business Ordinance, it states, “The adopted Ordinance established a 1,000 foot buffer between any potential commercial cannabis business and specified sensitive uses, including, school K-12 schools, day care centers, and youth and recreation centers. Additionally, storefront retail business shall not be located with 1,000 feet from another commercial cannabis storefront retailer.” People living within 1,000 feet will be notified and there will be an opportunity for them to comment, and the evaluator will consider their comments.

It is also important to note that no one area will get all the businesses. Each CPA (Cannabis Permit Area) have been carefully vetted according to the businesses already in operation in the area. Additionally, there will only be eight permits total given throughout the city as a start. Pomona wants to avoid the mistakes and headaches of other cities, which is why we are proceeding with caution.

There will be conversations at both the Planning Commission and City Council level before anything is decided regarding other related industries. I encourage you to attend these meetings in order to hear and be heard regarding this matter. I have communicated with our Planning Director and this matter will not go up before Planning by best estimates either July (on the early side) or September (on the late side). In the meantime, I will be co-hosting a Community Concerns Meeting regarding cannabis at Washington Park on a day during the last full week of June with Councilmember Victor Preciado and the Planning Department will be present.

I am aware of the many homes sprinkled in the “industrial zone” and of the concerns of residents living, as I do, separated from businesses by an established trucking route and concerned about the environmental impact to our quality of life. This is the benefit of district elections — I am your neighbor, I share many of your concerns, and I will use my knowledge of our neighborhood and the tools at my disposal as your representative to make sure we get fair treatment.

I hope this information, my comments, and the attached report link calm any concerns you may have. However, if you would like to speak further about the matter before the June community meeting, I would be happy to hear from you.

* ¡Versión en español próximamente!

Planning Department Report on Cannabis: https://www.ci.pomona.ca.us/index.php/development-services-home/planning/cannabis

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