Farmersville allows dispensaries to take their product on the road

Paul Myers

City council votes unanimously to allow dispensaries to deliver cannabis within the city as a part of ‘essential’ services

FARMERSVILLE – Dispensaries in Farmersville are ready to get moving after the city council decided to allow for cannabis deliveries in town.

Deliveries for dispensaries were explicitly forbidden when Proposition 64 passed in 2016. Since then, the state passed regulations where local agencies cannot “prevent” deliveries. Although, cities can still regulate them.

At the Farmersville City Council’s Jan. 11 meeting, they voted unanimously to suspend two sections of the city’s municipal code banning cannabis deliveries. Farmersville decided to tackle the topic last month in light of a decision rendered by a Fresno County court. According to a Farmersville staff report, multiple cities sued the Bureau of Cannabis Control asserting cities had the right to prevent deliveries through allowable regulatory means.

“The Court dismissed the lawsuit on the bases that the issue was not ‘ripe’ as the [Bureau of Cannabis Control] asserted that the cities did have the right to ‘regulate’ just not ‘prevent,’” the report stated.

The report noted as well that the court offered, “no guidance as to when ‘regulation’ might cross the line to ‘prevention.’” Which is to say that it is ambiguous how far cities can go before businesses can claim they are being prevented.

Farmersville city attorney advised that the city amend their municipal code to specifically spell out the regulations over deliveries. However, the process in crafting an amendment is lengthy and city manager, Jennifer Gomez, said she is unsure when dispensaries will be allowed to begin offering deliveries. She said the city has not yet settled on which forms the companies would need before hitting the road. Gomez added that she would be consulting with HDL, the firm that helped process dispensary applications when the city first invited them to town.

“So, I’m working with [HDL] to make sure that we have everything we need. I would love it if it was within a couple weeks, but I honestly just don’t know,” Gomez said.

In the mean time the city attorney recommended Gomez declare cannabis deliveries “essential” as a part of COVID-19 emergency measures passed last year. Gomez said staff is working to bring more formal language to the council in the future.

In 2016 when Proposition 64 was beginning to take effect, cities were given the choice over whether they wanted to allow for deliveries. Law enforcement around the county were weary about the unknown impact dispensaries may play by being on the road. Gomez said police Chief Mario Krstic has not expressed any concerns he has in light of this vote.

“We have a very good, strong relationship with our two local dispensaries. And so I don’t think he has any hesitation or concerns,” Gomez said. “We have the background check, we know how their businesses operate. It’s probably more the concern of the unknown out there of people doing things that we don’t know about.”

Delivery trucks would be hard to spot anyways. Gomez said state regulations mandate that cannabis dispensary vehicles need to be inconspicuous and blend into traffic.

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