City Council members in Vista last week agreed to significantly lower the annual permit fees for cannabis dispensaries and said they were open to expanding cannabis sales for recreational use.

The city already allows 11 businesses to sell medicinal-use cannabis under Measure Z, approved by voters in 2018. The first legal shops opened in October 2019.

Annual permit fees fund financial audits for all cannabis businesses and quarterly inspections for the seven shops that provide delivery service and other functions.

Last week, council members approved a city staff recommendation to lower permitting fees after an analysis found they were higher than what was needed for the audits, inspections and other costs.

“We have a year under our belt, we have a better understanding of the costs involved, and we are required by state law to set these fees as close as possible to our demonstrated costs,” Councilman John Franklin said.

Beginning July 1, businesses subject to quarterly inspections will pay $19,967, or $8,000 less than the fee approved last June. Businesses that don’t require quarterly inspections will pay $11,128, or $11,800 less than the current fee.

In comparison, the Oceanside City Council last week approved $8,850 in annual fees for dispensaries in their city.


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