Nevada City approves medical cannabis business application procedure

The Nevada City Council approved the application procedure and fee structure for medical cannabis businesses — excluding dispensaries — Wednesday night, Aug. 9, with a slight tweak to the price tag.

An initial staff report said prospective business owners would have to pay up to $4,500 in fees. The preparation of a zoning verification letter, the report said, could cost up to $2,461 — a large portion of the price.

But City Planner Amy Wolfson said Wednesday night the preparation of a letter would likely only take her about two hours, and would cost somewhere around $150.

The council agreed on a conservative price estimate for the preparation of those letters, and updated the fees to say that a zoning letter could cost up to $500, reducing the total price tag of an application, with all fees included, to about $2,531.

Wolfson said the initial estimate for the price of a zoning letter was based on the cost calculated for a prospective medical cannabis dispensary business, but writing letters for other businesses would be much less time-consuming.

Mayor Duane Strawser said the application fees are to pay city staff for their time.

“We are not doing this to generate a profit,” he said.

Fees for applicants include $1,550 to compensate city staff for their time in reviewing the application, $300 for a state background check if the applicant applies before the city has been granted federal background check access, $72 for a live scan, $100 dollars for the preparation of a notice to property owners within 300 feet of the proposed business location, $15 per notice for mailing fees and up to $500 for the preparation of a zoning verification letter for the proposed location.

The application process requires that prospective business owners submit a written application, undergo a criminal history check and present their business to the city’s planning commission for review at a public meeting.

City council members unanimously approved the application procedure and fees.

The applications are for medical cannabis cultivation, distribution, transportation, manufacturing and testing laboratory businesses.

A separate application and fee structure has been created and approved for prospective business owners hoping to open a medical cannabis dispensary. Dispensary applicants are required to pay more than $10,000 in fees for the entire application process, which includes multiple phases. Only one medical cannabis dispensary is allowed to operate in Nevada City.

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