An ordinance change allowing the retail sale of adult-use cannabis in Napa is nearing the final step of approval by the Napa City Council Tuesday night.

Napa currently only allows medicinal sales of cannabis, meaning customers must have a doctor-approved health card to purchase cannabis products. According to adult retail rules, anyone 21 years of age or older can purchase cannabis products by showing ID.

California legalized recreational cannabis in 2016, after 57% of voters – and 61% of voters in Napa County – had voted in favor of Proposition 64th But most California cities, such as Napa, still do not allow the sale of cannabis for adults.

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Local cannabis retailers say opening sales to adults will boost business and increase the city’s tax revenue.

Aimee Henry, an owner of Napa Cannabis Collective, said allowing adult sales will essentially allow her business to become sustainable.

“In Napa, the demand for medicine really wasn’t high enough to have a sustainable business that would break even, let alone break even,” Henry said.

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She added that while it now only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get a medicinal cannabis referral, the need for a referral is still a barrier for many people.

One reason for this is that recommendations usually 30 to 40 US dollars cost, Henry said. People might want to lead a conversation with a doctor about the reason why they want to consume cannabis. And cannabis for adults can be purchased in nearby towns or delivered without a health card is required, she added.

“The majority of the potential sales of Napa went to Vallejo, Fairfield or Santa Rosa, or the people to order supplies from outside,” Henry said. “… We really lose substantial revenue, not only for us as a retailer, but also for the city.”

Riccardo Natoli, president of The Herbivore Cannabis Dispensary, said Napa’s local economy relies heavily on tourism. With that in mind, Herbivore is focused on a high-end luxury market, he said, and expects about 30% to 40% more business if the change is approved for adult use.

Natoli also recommended the establishment of a moratorium on new adult-use applications to protect Napa’s six current pharmacies from the arrival of new adult-use retailers, particularly large corporate brands.

“For us it is a sweet and sour proposal,” Natoli said. “We need to ensure that they protect in addition to pure relaxation and the existing retail operation.”

A two-year moratorium on new retail cannabis uses, which would apply to outside pharmacies, was proposed by a coalition of five pharmacies last year. Retailers argued the moratorium would allow businesses to stabilize financially from the COVID-19 pandemic and it would give the city time to figure out how and if the adult-use market should be regulated.

“From our perspective, we are trying to exclude anyone; We are not trying to prevent other transactions it to open and a piece of the pie abzubekommen “Henry said. “We want to ensure that our businesses can be sustainable.”

But most Council members and planning commissioners did not support the proposed moratorium, and no action was taken to include it.

Changing the regulation has been in the works for much of the past year.

After prioritizing an ordinance update as a policy goal in March 2021, the City Council voted 4-1 in October 2021 for staff to prepare the amendment allowing retail sales of cannabis to persons 21 and older. The city’s planning commission unanimously approved the change in November.

The change, allowing sales to adults, would go into effect 30 days after approval by the Napa City Council.

In other news, the city council will hear an update on the Make it in Napa initiative — an attempt to support the space needs of local creatives — and recommendations for an action plan to implement the initiative’s goals.

The Make it in Napa survey, on which the action plan is based, conducted last year found that space in Napa is unaffordable for artists and makers in general.

Among the proposed measures, the education is one of a steering committee to continue the initiative; Improving communication and increasing the visibility of the creative sector of the city; and improving the urban infrastructure and policy to support the initiative, according to the 78-page action plan for creative spaces and local production.

In addition, the action plan calls for the city to adopt incentive programs to promote Napa as a place for creative people to live. that it creates new affordable space opportunities; that it explores funding and partnership opportunities and strengthens regional ties; and that it creates a manufacturer-centric neighborhood.

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You can reach Edward Booth at (707) 256-2213.