Richmond wants to add cannabis retail permits, doubling the number of permitted dispensaries from three to six.
On Tuesday, the City Council will hold a public hearing on making the change possible, by amending the Richmond Municipal Code. The city staff says existing retailers are making significant revenue, even in the face of increased competition. But those in the business say sales have been declining post-pandemic. And some advocacy groups feel there is a health risk in increasing the number of dispensaries in the city.
The proposed change would help the city achieve its economic, health, and wellness goals, as well as support equity program applicants — people and communities harmed by cannabis criminalization.
In 2021, the city received a $1.3 million grant from California Go-Biz to provide financial, business and technical support to equity applicants. However, Natalia Thurston, director and legal counsel at the nonprofit Equity Defense Firm in San Francisco, said Richmond has yet to use any of its funding.
“Richmond has to address the significant barriers to entry, like capital, regulations, and infrastructure to issue permits under the equity program,” Thurston said.
Any new permits will likely go to multi-state operators who have the resources and ability