Palm Springs Approves Increase For Cannabis License Fees

Nico Payne

The city of Palm Springs has decided to increase cannabis business license fees over the next three years. Because of the steep increase, many dispensaries were expected to oppose the idea, but we spoke to one local shop supporting the move, saying it will be good for the long term.

Palm Springs is raising the barrier to entry for the cannabis industry, with the city council approving an increase in licensing fees.

Before the change, a new application fee for a cannabis business license would cost just over $4,000 dollars, with an annual renewal fee of $1,000 dollars, but now they will be going up by thousands of dollars.

“What we are proposing in order to accommodate additional staff and enforcement activities is to increase the rate to approximately 10,000 for each of the application types,” said Flinn Fagg, Development Services Director with Palm Springs.

Reaction to the change is split; most dispensaries we spoke to were against it, some were just learning about it. And others say that while they prefer the current fees, this was bound to happen.

“When you compare the fees that we pay and dispensaries pay at the state level, palm springs was a deal if you will,” said Brad Davis, Chief Operating Officer of Lighthouse Dispensaries.

The increased fees will be used to hire two code compliance officers and purchase a vehicle at a total estimated cost of $289,000. These new hires will specifically focus on the cannabis industry in Palm Springs.

“The money is going for compliance and compliance is good for everybody, it’s good for the public. it helps alleviate the gray market problem,” added Davis.

“In terms of supporting a robust enforcement program for cannabis-related businesses we need to have dedicated staff, right now we are splitting the time between our regular code compliance staff and so therefore we haven’t been able to be as effective in the program as our citizens would like us to be,” said Fagg.

But with these changes, cannabis business owners still don’t expect to see a decrease in marijuana shops anytime soon.

“Cannabis dispensaries in Palm Springs not only serve the local marketplace but also augment and provide another benefit for tourists that are coming here from across the state and across the nation. And as we come out of covid the ability to drive more tourism and to provide another value to coming to Palm Springs than another marketplace is a win-win for everybody.”

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