Commercial Cannabis

What you need to know about commercial cannabis in Moreno Valley

This page is designed to be the one location to find all the information you will need to know about Commercial Cannabis in Moreno Valley.  This page will continue to be updated as new information is available.  

Ordinance

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Commercial Cannabis Activities in the City of Moreno Valley

  • Can I grow, sell, process or manufacture cannabis products for commercial purposes in the City?
    Answer: No. Currently it is illegal to conduct any commercial cannabis activity, medical or adult use, in the City. 
  • Will the City allow commercial cannabis activity in the future?
    Answer: Yes. The City Council directed staff to prepare permitting and land use regulations that would allow for dispensaries, cultivation, manufacturing and other commercial cannabis activities in the City.
  • When will I be able to apply for a permit for a cannabis related business in Moreno Valley?
    Answer: Anticipated in Spring, 2018. 

    There are two critical steps in establishing a program allowing commercial cannabis businesses. The City Council took the first step in the process of allowing cannabis activities in the City when it adopted an ordinance on November 7, 2017 establishing the regulatory process for commercial cannabis activity (add link to ordinance pdf file). This ordinance sets all the rules for the establishment, operation and regulation of commercial cannabis uses including cultivation, manufacturing, dispensation, transportation and testing.

    The second step in the process is for the City Council to make land use and planning decisions related to cannabis businesses, such as where each use shall be allowed within the city limits, how many permits for each type of use (cultivation, retail, etc.) shall be approved, etc. City staff is currently preparing recommendations and drafting an ordinance for the City Council’s consideration. The land use and planning elements will be included in the draft ordinance that must be reviewed by the Planning Commission and then the City Council prior to final adoption. 

    Concurrent with the second step noted above, City staff is developing the necessary processes for issuing licenses and permits, performing investigations, inspections, and audits and enforcing these regulations.  The City may charge fees which will be set by resolution to reimburse the City for these costs associated with the operation of commercial cannabis businesses. Staff is currently developing that fee methodology for City Council review in conjunction with the land use and planning ordinance (second step above.)
  • Starting in January of 2018 the State of California will be issuing temporary licenses to commercial cannabis businesses; will the City issue such licenses and allow businesses to open in January?
    AnswerNo. As explained in answer 3, the City needs to adopt its land use and planning  process regulations before permits and entitlements are issued by the City. The City cannot issue licenses for cannabis businesses if the determinations have not been made as to where such businesses will be permitted, how many permits will be issued, etc. The City is informed that State licenses will only be issued to entities that possess a permit or a license from the local agency (the City).
  • There are currently dispensaries in the City limits. Why are they allowed to operate?
    Answer: Any dispensary operating in the City is in violation of City, and most likely, State regulations. The City Attorney’s office and Code Enforcement staff have prosecuted and caused closure of 12 illegal dispensaries in the last 18 months.  Any illegal operation still in place will be dealt with in the same manner. 
  • When can I legally operate a dispensary or any other cannabis business in the City of Moreno Valley?
    Answer: The City Council has given direction to staff to expedite the drafting and adoption process for regulating commercial cannabis activity in the City. It is expected that full regulations and fees will be in effect in the Spring of 2018.
  • Can I participate in the process of adoption of these regulations either as a land owner, interested business owner or member of the public?
    AnswerYes. All of the Planning Commission and City Council meetings are open to the public. You can check the City Council and Planning Commission agendas posted on the city website to find out when the land use and planning process ordinance will be considered. 
  • Will cannabis businesses be allowed to locate near schools, parks or other places where children maybe present?
    Answer:  State law already provides for distance separation from schools for any retail cannabis operation. The City staff is preparing land use regulations which will also keep such issues in mind and to the extent it is legally supportable, will propose location of cannabis businesses away from sensitive uses. Your concerns regarding this issue can be presented to the Planning Commission and the City Council during the public meetings at which the land use and planning ordinance will be discussed.
  • Can I buy, rent or lease property for future commercial cannabis business before the regulations are in place?
    Answer: Yes, but at your own risk. Until the land use and planning regulations are adopted there is no certainty as to where in the City each kind of cannabis business will be able to locate lawfully.
  • Will the City receive revenue from commercial cannabis activity?
    Answer: The City will establish a fee structure to recover the city’s costs and impacts related to the processing of applications, auditing, inspecting and monitoring commercial cannabis activity in the City. The fees will also account for the cost of any increased police presence needed to address public safety issues directly related to commercial cannabis businesses. These fees will be collected from the cannabis businesses during the application process.  As with all user fees, the City is only allowed to charge and collect fees commensurate with the cost of providing services specifically related to the administration of the commercial cannabis program.
    The City Council has directed staff to prepare language for a cannabis tax measure to be considered by the Council for possible inclusion on the November 2018 ballot. If approved by the voters, a tax on commercial cannabis activity will be a direct revenue source to the City’s General Fund to be used for any general fund expenditure authorized by law, including public safety, streets, parks, library and other activities. 
  • Can existing dispensaries or other cannabis businesses be “grandfathered in” and continue to operate when new regulations are adopted?
    AnswerNo. As explained above, any existing dispensary or other cannabis business is operating in violation of the law and as such cannot be “grandfathered in.”
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