Board Approves Relaxation of Payment Terms for Cannabis Dispensaries

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved the relaxation of payment terms required by conditional use permits granted to four marijuana dispensaries under construction in different parts of Riverside County, enabling the owner of the businesses to postpone satisfying a bill in excess of $1 million.

Sean St. Peter, operator of the Cannabis 21 chain, was the subject of a brief public hearing focused on his operations in the unincorporated communities of Bermuda Dunes, Highgrove, Mead Valley and Winchester.

Following a short presentation by the county Transportation & Land Management Agency, and a word of thanks from St. Peter, the board unanimously authorized modification of the development agreements tied to each of his four outlets, which the board first approved in 2020 and 2021.

The amendments specifically strike a requirement that St. Peter satisfy all the predetermined public benefit payments to the county “prior to the first grading permit or the first building permit” being issued and instead allow him to complete the payments as a “final condition prior to occupancy” of the businesses.

The TLMA had recommended that the board accept the changes.

St. Peter owes the county a total of $444,871 under the development agreement for the Bermuda Dunes operation, $166,109 for the Highgrove location, $180,608 for the Mead Valley dispensary, and $260,454 for the one in Winchester.

The Bermuda Dunes outlet will be a 13,969-square-foot facility at 39225 Washington St.; the Highgrove business — the first one approved — will be a .33-acre vending site at Center Street and Stephens Avenue; the Mead Valley outlet will be on a 1.27-acre lot in the area of the Cajalco Expressway and Harvill Avenue; and the Winchester shop will be an 8,400-square-foot facility near California Avenue and Highway 74.

TLMA officials said construction and renovations are in progress at several of the locations.

St. Peter did not specify publicly why he sought the changes.

The conditional use permits and development agreements for each are valid for 10 years.

Board Chairman Kevin Jeffries complained last year that most of the dispensaries that the board had authorized in unincorporated areas were behind in construction, and one in Lakeland Village had been entirely abandoned, leaving behind a half-finished structure marred by graffiti and refuse.

Jeffries called for a halt to further permitting of cannabis outlets until the ones approved were further along in development. TLMA officials have not brought any permit proposals forward since.

The county’s 2018 Marijuana Comprehensive Regulatory Framework, codified under Ordinance No. 348, provides for steps that prospective businesses must take to be eligible for permits. Safety and health safeguards are part of the regulatory stipulations.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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