Chula Vista begins licensing process for cannabis businesses

CHULA VISTA (KUSI) – The second largest city in San Diego County is gearing up for the start of a new industry.

Chula Vista is processing the license applications for people who want a piece of the multi-million dollars cannabis industry.

Deputy City Manager Kelley Bacon said the city received 136 applications for licenses before the January 18 deadline. The majority of applications were for storefront dispensaries, but the city is also issuing licenses for delivery services, growers, distributors, manufacturers and testing labs.

All of the applicants will have to submit a business plan, an operations plan and other detailed information to the city.

After a first review, the applications will be evaluated by HDL, an independent company that looks at each application and ranks them. That list is turned over to the city, and the review enters a second phase, involving the Chula Vista Police Department and an extensive background check.

The City will only allow three retail operations in each of the four City Council districts. The number covers both storefront and delivery services. Chula Vista has capped the total number of retailers at 12 and no more than two of the three retail businesses can be storefronts.

It could be six to nine months before the first cannabis licenses are issued.

Even as Chula Vista gets ready for the start of the legal cannabis industry, the city is continuing to take aim at the cannabis black market. Earlier this week, the Police Department in partnership with the City Attorney’s Office and the Code Enforcement Department said it shut down an illegal cannabis dispensary at 589 Vance Street, doing business in a residential neighborhood, not far from an elementary school.

Up until now, the city only used the civil courts to close the illegal dispensaries. However, next month, a new attorney will join the the City Attorney’s Office to launch criminal prosecutions against the illegal shops, which could lead to the seizure of assets and jail time.

Once the licenses are issued, Deputy City Manager Kelley Bacon estimated the tax revenue from the city’s new cannabis industry could generate six million dollars annually.

Categories: Local San Diego News