Merced warms to cannabis dispensaries, expands operating hour and loosens zoning – The San Joaquin Valley Sun

The Merced City Council unanimously approved changes to cannabis dispensary zoning requirements on Monday as well as the merit-based selection criteria for another dispensary, set to be the city’s fifth.

Monday’s most notable action affected the working hours of retail dispensaries.

Since the rules were first drawn up in 2017, dispensaries had a set closing time of 9 p.m.

Now, cannabis retailers are allowed to remain open until 10 p.m.

Councilman Fernando Echevarria suggested that dispensaries should be able to stay open until 2 a.m. to mirror the operational hours of bars.

While the rest of the council was open to that discussion, the other councilmembers decided to see how the extra hour of operation works over the next year before revisiting the idea. 

For the new dispensary that will be up for grabs soon, the council amended the rules to create a buffer zone of 1,000 feet from a school or 600 fett from a daycare center, youth center, library or public park that is in existence at the time of the application.

As far as the selection criteria goes, the city council approved point changes that were put forth by the Planning

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