Chapter 49
CANNABIS EQUITY PROGRAM

Sections:

5-49.01    Purpose.

5-49.02    Definitions.

5-49.03    Creation of the Watsonville cannabis equity program.

5-49.04    Eligibility criteria.

5-49.05    Equity program benefits.

5-49.06    Severability.

5-49.01 Purpose.

The purpose of the chapter is to provide for administering a cannabis equity program in the City of Watsonville and in particular to mitigate the barriers to equity within the commercial cannabis market place for populations that were negatively or disproportionally impacted by cannabis criminalization and for pursuing aid from compassionate cannabis care programs.

This chapter is not intended to conflict with Federal or State law. It is the intention of the City that this chapter be interpreted to be compatible with Federal and State enactments and in furtherance of the public purpose that those enactments encompass.

(§ 1, Ord. 1381-19 (CM), eff. March 26, 2019)

5-49.02 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:

(a)    “Applicant” shall mean the person or entity submitting an application for eligibility to participate in the equity program.

(b)    “Cannabis” shall mean all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa Linnaeus, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis, as defined under Business and Professions Code Section 19300.5(f), as may be amended.

(c)    “Commercial cannabis business” shall mean a licensed cannabis cultivation, distribution, manufacturing or retail business located in the City of Watsonville.

(d)    “Equity program” shall mean the cannabis equity program created by this chapter.

(e)    “License” shall mean the written evidence of permission given by the licensing official for a licensee to operate a commercial cannabis business. “License” does not mean “permit” within the meaning of the Permit Streamlining Act, and a license does not constitute a permit that runs with the land on which a dispensary sits.

(f)    “Licensee” shall mean the person or entity holding a valid license to operate a commercial cannabis business under this chapter.

(g)    “Licensing official” shall mean the official appointed by the City Manager who is responsible for implementing the provisions of this chapter.

(§ 1, Ord. 1381-19 (CM), eff. March 26, 2019)

5-49.03 Creation of the Watsonville cannabis equity program.

(a)    There is hereby created the Watsonville cannabis equity program. The program shall be operated by the licensing official.

(b)    The licensing official shall take the necessary steps to build and manage the equity program. This includes, but is not limited to, accomplishing the following tasks in compliance with this chapter:

(1)    Create grant application forms for new commercial cannabis businesses;

(2)    Approve and deny grant equity program applications;

(3)    Create and conduct workshops for applicants on various technical aspects of commercial cannabis businesses regulatory compliance;

(4)    Establish methods to provide direct technical assistance to applicants and licensees, such as, for example: cultivation, manufacture, testing, dispensary (retailer), delivery and microbusiness;

(5)    Create a system to administer fee waivers for cannabis-related use permits and business licenses;

(6)    Create a system to provide direct assistance in paying State regulatory and licensing fees and appropriate capital investment for program participants;

(7)    Assist applicants and licensees securing business locations before or during the use permit and cannabis business license process;

(8)    Establish and/or recommend adoption of any policies, procedures, rules, or regulations, necessary to implement the program; and

(9)    Work with other officials in the City to ensure that applicants and licensees comply with all aspects of the Municipal Code.

(§ 1, Ord. 1381-19 (CM), eff. March 26, 2019)

5-49.04 Eligibility criteria.

(a)    Eligibility for the equity program shall be limited to applicants or operators of licensed commercial cannabis businesses who can demonstrate that they, their employees, or their customers meet at least three (3) of the following nine (9) standards:

(1)    Have been negatively impacted in a disproportionate way by cannabis criminalization and can demonstrate what they have done and will do to address such negative impacts, including but not limited to supporting compassionate care programs within the community (defined as the jurisdictional territory of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District);

(2)    Reside within boundaries of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District;

(3)    Attended school in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District for a total of five (5) years from 1971 to 2016;

(4)    Are economically disadvantaged, which may be demonstrated, for example, by being adjudicated bankrupt under Chapters 7, 11, 12 or 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, by losing their primary residence though a judicial or nonjudicial foreclosure after 2005, or have otherwise been involuntarily displaced from their primary residence since 2005 such as by eviction or subsidy cancellation;

(5)    Are twenty-five (25%) percent “day-to-day” women supervised and women owned businesses;

(6)    Have a household income below eighty (80%) percent of the average median income (AMI) for 2017 based on the number of people in your household;

(7)    Have lived in a census tract within the community (defined as the jurisdictional territory of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District) at least five (5) years between 1971 and 2016 where at least seventeen (17%) percent of the households had incomes at or below the Federal poverty level;

(8)    Have been arrested for or convicted of the sale, possession, use, manufacture, or cultivation of cannabis (including as a juvenile) from 1971 to 2016; or

(9)    Have a parent, sibling or child who was arrested for or convicted of the sale, possession, use, manufacture, or cultivation of cannabis (including as a juvenile) from 1971 to 2016.

(b)    For purposes of subsection (a) of this section, “compassionate care programs” include, but are not limited to:

(1)    Programs which provide free or discounted cannabis to medical cannabis patients and primary caregivers; and/or

(2)    Programs which provide palliative and/or end of life care for medical cannabis patients.

(§ 1, Ord. 1381-19 (CM), eff. March 26, 2019)

5-49.05 Equity program benefits.

Assistance programs for equity program licensees will include:

(a)    Workshops to gain a better understanding of various technical aspects of compliance with local and State regulations;

(b)    Direct technical assistance with all categories and levels of State and local licensing issues, including but not limited to:

(1)    Assistance with technical aspects of local permit application drafting;

(2)    Training on and direct assistance in applying for air district permits, hazardous materials business permits, State Water Board permits and other permits and programs to be identified by the licensing official;

(c)    Fee waivers for use permits and cannabis business licenses;

(d)    Direct assistance paying for State licensing and regulatory fees; and

(e)    Assistance from the Community Development Director with securing business locations prior to or during the use permit and cannabis business license process.

(§ 1, Ord. 1381-19 (CM), eff. March 26, 2019)

5-49.06 Severability.

If any section, subdivision, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of the ordinance codified in this chapter is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such a decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion of the ordinance. The Council hereby declares that it would have passed each section, subsection, subdivision, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of the ordinance codified in this chapter irrespective of the unconstitutionality or invalidity of any other section, subdivision, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of the ordinance codified in this chapter.

(§ 1, Ord. 1381-19 (CM), eff. March 26, 2019)