City Council will discuss potential changes to cannabis regulations in October

PASO ROBLES — The City of Paso Robles held a public forum Thursday night to collect feedback on potential cannabis regulation changes in city limits. The forum was recorded and is available to view online. The cannabis governance framework will be brought back to City Council for discussion in an October meeting.

In addition to the cannabis forum, a cannabis regulation survey is being circulated among city residents to gather community input. After being circulated for little more than a week, the city has received over 700 responses. 

The survey is open until Sept. 5 and can be found here

Council and city staff are looking into the option of allowing retail cannabis storefronts within city limits and, in doing so, recruited Hdl Companies, a consulting firm. 

The community forum and survey follow direction provided by the City Council at its July 19 meeting. During the meeting, the City Council reaffirmed its desire to advance the development of the cannabis governance framework discussion and approved the community outreach plan. 

Currently, the city only allows the delivery of medical cannabis.

State regulations say cannabis businesses cannot be located within 600 feet of a “sensitive use,” defined as a school, daycare center, or youth center. However, local jurisdictions can apply additional regulations to increase or decrease buffer distances and/or expand the definition of “sensitive use.”

There are several existing state laws in place addressing public safety, public health, land use protection, and preventing youth access.

Hdl outlined the potential financial impact the industry would have if the city expanded its cannabis operations.

Annual Retail Tax Revenue Scenarios*

  • (10 percent): $800,000 — Plus $120,000 in local sales tax. Total $920,000
  • (8 percent): $640,000 — Plus $120,000 in local sales tax. Total $760,000
  • (6 percent): $480,000 — Plus $120,000 in local sales tax. Total $600,000.

*Assumes two storefront retailers with an average of $4 million in gross receipts each. Actual gross receipts may be higher or lower, depending on multiple factors.

Following a presentation outlining the current laws and possibilities, public comment was held, and dozens of residents appeared at or called into the meeting to express their opinions on the subject.

Views from the public were mixed — some supporting retail businesses, and some opposed to them. Others supported the introduction of retail sites but asked the council to prioritize local business owners and not corporate cannabis retailers. And some who supported the retailers questioned whether or not the storefronts should be in the downtown area.

If the city decides to move forward with adjusting its cannabis regulations, there are several steps before implementation. First, the city would need to decide on business locations and zoning, adopt an ordinance for land use and regulations, and then develop an application and permitting process. 

On Tuesday, Aug. 23 the Paso Robles Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing to consider “a zone text amendment to the City Council which amends Chapter 21.33 of Article IIA of Title 21 of the El Paso de Robles Municipal Code regarding commercial cannabis use.”

For more information on the hearing, visit