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Yountville voters can weigh in on cannabis retailing on November ballot

Yountville voters can weigh in on cannabis retailing on November ballot

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Cannabis sales in Napa County

Cannabis flower was available for purchase at Harvest of Napa, which became Napa County's first dispensary at the end of 2018.

This November, Yountville voters will get the chance to decide whether theirs will become the Napa Valley’s second town to allow the sale of cannabis products.

The Town Council approved the writing of an ordinance to govern sales of marijuana products in the resort community of about 2,800 people. If the measure is approved by voters, Yountville would join the city of Napa in allowing local cannabis sales outlets.

Draft language for the ordinance could be ready in time for the council to review in April, Town Manager Steve Rogers said shortly before the unanimous vote of approval March 3.

Councilmembers have not decided what type of cannabis retailing they will pursue in Yountville, where tourism drives the economy and about two-thirds of the budget stems from hotel room taxes. In a December discussion on the topic, councilmember and staff discussed alternatives to over-the-counter sales of smokable and edible products – such as licensing a hospitality business to sell cannabis only for use on-site.

Any Yountville policy on cannabis sales will be bound by state rules governing the location and placement of retailers. California requires sales outlets to be at least 600 feet away from schools, parks, day-care centers and other places geared to minors, ruling out sites near Yountville Park and possibly Yountville Elementary School, although the school will close in June.

Although California voters approved the legalization of adult non-medical use of marijuana in a 2016 ballot measure, growth of a legal Napa Valley market has remained slow. The only licensed sales outlet in the county is Harvest of Napa, a dispensary opened in the city of Napa at the end of 2018 and requires buyers to have a doctor’s recommendation. No recreational cannabis retailers have yet opened in the county.

You can reach Howard Yune at 707-256-2214 or hyune@napanews.com

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Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune covers public safety for the Napa Valley Register. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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