Commercial Pot Growers, Sellers Meet with City Officials

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SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento is now one step closer to allowing large-scale, commercial marijuana grow operations within the city, after approving the act of licensing commercial grows in November, but putting a moratorium on handing out licenses. City officials say they’ll soon lift that moratorium.

Mike Ayers' medical marijuana delivery service drops off about 10 deliveries in the Sacramento area every day.

The thought of competing with large, commercial grow operations worries him.

"A lot of small operators that can't keep up with that scale, are going to get lost in the mix,” said Ayers.

That fear brought him to city hall chambers Monday, where dozens of people involved in the business of pot -- from seed to sale, operations big and small, met with city officials to discuss what's next.

Unfortunately for Ayers, it appears the big, commercial operators are on their way in. In November, city council approved an ordinance that grants licenses for commercial growers to operate in the city, but put a hold on actually issuing those licenses.

City officials now say in February, they'll ask council to lift that hold and be able to issue licenses by early April.

"As staff we feel pretty confident we're going to be able to make that deadline,” said
Randi Knott, Sacramento’s director of government affairs.

Knott says it won’t be easy.

"Well it's hard to regulate something that's been illegal for 106 years,” said Knott.

She says while the licenses are coming, the city's still working out how much to charge commercial growers in fees based on how much square footage they'll use to grow.

Knott says the city has yet to vote on licensing, lab testing or distribution, issues they hope to tackle soon.

At the state Capitol Monday, dozens more marijuana growers showed up for a hearing in which lawmakers asked state marijuana regulators about how they’ll manage recreational pot when it goes into effect in less than a year.

"There's a lot of misunderstanding, still a lot of fear as far as how far the states going to go,” said Michael Green, who is working with growers in Lake County come up with an county-wide ordinance to allow growers to operate.