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  City Council Pushes Dispensary Permitting Envelope
March 21, 2012

At last night’s City Council meeting on a 4-1 vote, the Richmond City Council voted a second  reading to amend the Marijuana Collective Ordinance a second time to double the number of dispensaries from the original three to six and expand the allowable locations to C-2 zoned districts. Bates, Ritterman, Rogers and Booze voted in favor; Butt opposed. Beckles and McLaughlin were absent.

While most cities are reducing or moderating the number of permitted dispensaries or even banning them outright in response to recent court decisions, Richmond has emerged as one of California’s most aggressive cities. For example, Oakland, (of Oaksterdam fame) long held up as a pioneer in dispensary permitting, has only one dispensary per 50,000 population (eight), while Richmond now allows one per 17,000 population.


City Council
Richmond council moves forward with plan to double marijuana dispensaries
By Robert Rogers
Contra Costa Times correspondent
Posted:   03/21/2012 06:33:31 AM PDT
Updated:   03/21/2012 06:33:32 AM PDT

Richmond has cleared the way to double its number of medical marijuana dispensaries.
The City Council late Tuesday passed an ordinance permitting as many as six of the cannabis shops in the city, provided they don't share a property line with a residence or cluster more than three within a square-mile.
The expanded law -- the city previously approved three dispensaries -- means Richmond could have one of the highest concentrations of marijuana shops per capita in the Bay Area.
In Oakland, which has a population nearly four times as large as that of Richmond, officials on March 14 doubled their permit allotment for dispensaries from four to eight.
Several residents on Tuesday voiced their concern with the expansion during public comment.
"Six is excessive, especially in a city of this size," said resident Garland Ellis.
Prior to Tuesday's meeting, Councilman Jeff Ritterman said there was good reason for the expansion.
"We have been working with these six dispensaries for a couple of years now," Ritterman said. "All are qualified and all have done lots of hard work and also have incurred considerable expense to comply with the process."
The new law passed 4-1, with Councilman Tom Butt dissenting. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles were absent.
Butt said the council overreached.
"Last year the entire council was on board with a consensus for three dispensaries," Butt said. "Since then, we've gone in a direction of not only increasing the number of dispensaries but putting them in neighborhoods where people don't want them."
The first three dispensaries were approved in December. The new law, which takes effect in late April, also allows dispensaries to change locations within the city with approval from the chief of police and a public services committee.
The city's Finance Department estimates that each permitted marijuana collective would generate annual sales tax revenue of about $200,000.