Redwood City Issues Four Permits Allowing Storefront Retail Cannabis Businesses in Commercial and Mixed-Use Zones

Redwood City, Cannabis

The City’s four-phase cannabis program was developed over many years with community support; permittees expected to be good neighbors while providing community benefits and investments

Redwood City, California — On March 28, City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz issued permits to four retail cannabis storefront businesses in Redwood City.  They are: Juva Retail RWC Inc, located at 2301 Broadway, Responsible and Compliant Retail Redwood City LLC, located at 1870 Broadway, Runway Services Inc, located at 928 Whipple Ave, and MMD Redwood City Inc, located at 1764 Broadway. 

The permits were issued following a multi-year process to develop local regulations for cannabis businesses. In November 2020, the City Council authorized the City Manager to grant cannabis business permits to up to 6 retail cannabis storefront businesses. City regulations allow the businesses in Redwood City’s Zoning Districts that already permit general retail uses. The City Council approved a rigorous staff-led merit-based cannabis application permitting process to ensure high quality retail cannabis business operators would be thoroughly reviewed and sufficiently qualified before receiving permits. All applications for cannabis storefront retail were required to provide relevant information, including neighborhood compatibility, security and safety plans, and community benefits plans. 

“After meticulous review of all 28 applications received, these top candidates satisfy the established criteria to operate storefront retail cannabis businesses in Redwood City,” said Stevenson Diaz. “The City carefully designed the cannabis program to incorporate best practices and community feedback. We have seen strong community support through the voter approval of cannabis-related tax measures, a citywide survey, and public input as we developed the program. I believe these businesses will be assets to the Redwood City business community,” 

In addition to providing much-needed additional revenue as the City faces projected budget deficits, each business will contribute to local organizations. All cannabis storefront retail businesses are required to fund a 4% general tax on gross receipts paid directly to the City (this is in addition to the State’s 15% tax and the City’s almost 10% sales tax). Cannabis storefront retail businesses are expected to generate between $500,000 to $750,000 in revenue to fund City services in the first full year of operation. In addition, the selected permittees will provide a robust Community Benefits package in their first year of operation, which includes about $600,000 in monetary community contributions annually to a variety of Redwood City groups and organizations and more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service. The City Manager may issue up to two additional permits, for a total of six permits, under the City’s program.

All cannabis operators are subject to regular inspections, audits, and oversight. As they have since the City authorized delivery-based cannabis businesses, City staff and consultants and State regulators will work together to safeguard the community and ensure all local and state requirements are met. All security surveillance video and footage is made available to the Police Department to monitor business activity and deter any potential criminal activity. All cannabis retailers are required to check ID and ensure customers are 21 years of age or older (18 or over if a medical patient). In addition, cannabis storefront retail businesses must be a minimum of 600 feet from existing and entitled schools, childcare facilities, public parks, youth centers, and libraries. Permits are renewable on an annual basis and can be revoked if the business does not conform to the terms of their permit. 

The City allowed cannabis for medical use on a delivery basis beginning in 2015. Following State legislation allowing and regulating adult use of cannabis, Redwood City began developing the City’s cannabis program in 2017. The program was developed over many years, with multiple opportunities for the community and residents to submit feedback. The City Council followed a four-phased approach to the cannabis permitting process:

  1. Adopted an ordinance banning most commercial cannabis activity
  2. Required cannabis delivery businesses to register with the City
  3. Adopted regulations for delivery businesses, and 
  4. Adopted and developed a storefront retail cannabis program 

Since 2019, Redwood City has permitted cannabis non-storefront (delivery) businesses within City limits. Three delivery businesses currently operate and the City has not experienced complaints or observed an increase related to criminal activity related to these operations. For more information on the City’s cannabis regulations, visit www.RedwoodCity.org/Cannabis

About the City of Redwood City 

The City of Redwood City is a San Francisco Bay Area community located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the technology-rich region extending from the San Francisco Peninsula to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Redwood City is the third largest city within the County of San Mateo, with 85,992 residents. The city enjoys an average of 255 sunny days a year, which it boasts via the city slogan: “Climate Best by Government Test”. Incorporated in 1867, Redwood City is home to the San Mateo County History Museum (located in the county’s old courthouse) and the only active deep water port within the south bay of San Francisco. The city’s vibrant downtown, quickly becoming known as the entertainment hub of the San Francisco Peninsula, offers residents, visitors, and businesses a unique retail, entertainment, and restaurant experience. 

For more information, visit the City of Redwood City’s website at www.redwoodcity.org, or follow Redwood City on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

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