It was the final trip for considered one of Pasadena’s prime retail cannabis candidates on Monday night time as the corporate’s proprietor made a remaining enchantment to the Metropolis Council about its rejected cannabis software.

The difficulty at hand: Metropolis Corridor workers’s shifting, nebulous definition of “completeness,” which flummoxed the applicant as a lot as officers.

Tim Dodd, chief government and founding father of Los Angeles-based cannabis firm, Candy Flower, couldn’t persuade the council members to reverse the rejection — they voted 6-1 to disclaim the enchantment — however Dodd’s testimony raised questions in regards to the metropolis’s retail cannabis allowing course of.

Setup as a “race to the window,” in line with a workers report, Pasadena officers created a system that had candidates dashing to be the primary to complete. Solely six retailers could be allowed within the metropolis without delay, no a couple of in every district. Officers later realized that their very own strict guidelines on storefronts restricted it additional; they now consider there might solely be 4 working without delay.

When the method started, the primary firm to submit an entire software inside every district would win the best to promote cannabis within the metropolis — which might imply hundreds of thousands in income. Out of three corporations racing to function in Council District 3, Candy Flower was first to punch its ticket, beating its subsequent competitor, Harvest of Pasadena, by virtually 5 hours. However there was a hitch: Candy Flower’s location map wasn’t ready by a licensed surveyor.

Dodd acknowledged as a lot throughout his enchantment Monday night time however argued none of his opponents had the map ready appropriately both. But his firm was the one one rejected for it, he stated. There was a litany of different technical errors with their functions, he continued, however argued these have been additionally unfairly missed.

“No different software was rejected regardless that none of these met the usual,” Dodd stated, “a regular that workers has been unable to constantly outline.”

Pasadena’s Planning Director David Reyes defended his workers’s work, arguing the foundations have been utilized “pretty and equally to everyone.”

A number of the similar points raised by Dodd have been raised in lawsuits filed in opposition to the town difficult the cannabis allowing course of.

The shock surveyor

Dodd first realized in regards to the licensed surveyor requirement throughout a June 12 city-run workshop with the 5 different prime candidates. The announcement took him abruptly, he stated. Having efficiently gained permits for a number of shops in Los Angeles, together with one in Culver Metropolis and one other in Westwood, it was the primary time Dodd encountered this type of requirement.

Throughout Monday’s enchantment, Reyes stated a location map ready by a licensed surveyor was vital due to the strict distance necessities — cannabis retailers have to be 600 toes from the closest property traces of colleges, parks, libraries, residential areas and others — and 1,000 toes from each other, in line with the Pasadena Municipal Code.

Liquor shops, which have related buffer zones, don’t require a licensed surveyor to organize a web site map below the town’s legal guidelines. And it wasn’t a requirement for cannabis shops both till two days earlier than the June 12 assembly, Reyes stated.

When the candidates realized in regards to the requirement, it set off a mad sprint to discover a licensed surveyor. Their functions might be turned in that day. Each second counted, and solely the “first full software” could be processed, in line with workers studies.

Throughout the June 12 assembly, Dodd stated workers defined what “full” meant a pair other ways: “no gaps,” then “considerably full,” then “full in good religion.”

Later that day, in an e mail to candidates, workers informed them to submit their “greatest software.”

It was essentially the most interplay Dodd had with workers all through your entire course of, he stated. Dodd walked away from the assembly believing the usual was “full in good religion,” he stated, and that’s the applying he turned in.

“It grew to become obvious to us and others that workers” would emphasize being first, he stated. “It was important for us to grasp what the usual for completion was.”

When workers assessed Candy Flower’s software, it was deemed incomplete as a result of Dodd hadn’t used a licensed surveyor to create the corporate’s radius map, even when it have been correct.

The issue was, he stated, not one of the different candidates had their maps ready by licensed surveyors both. They have been reviewed and authorized however not ready by a licensed surveyor, he stated. Whereas Candy Flower’s software was denied, the others have been deemed full.

Small issues with huge penalties

Dodd criticized Harvest of Pasadena’s software: Not solely was its map not ready by a licensed surveyor —  although it was licensed by one — he identified {that a} signature required from a property proprietor had been substituted for the leasee’s signature.

He shifted to competitor Atrium, whose map was equally licensed however not ready by a licensed surveyor. Atrium didn’t embrace the land proprietor signature in any respect, he stated, and but each have been deemed full.

Dodd moved on to Integral Associates, which wasn’t a direct competitor within the district however ended up being the town’s top-scoring applicant. He argued its map had errors in it, falsely measuring to the center of the road moderately than nearest property line, the requirement outlined within the Pasadena municipal code. That left Integral about 40 toes wanting the space necessities, Dodd stated.

Reyes supplied a competing requirement earlier within the assembly, explaining the town was measuring to each factors, regardless of what the municipal code learn. Measuring to the center of the road, which is completed to calculate zoning boundaries, meant Integral’s chosen location was authorized.

Dodd later argued that form of measuring ran afoul of Pasadena’s municipal code. He known as on the Metropolis Council to concede the foundations hadn’t been utilized pretty to everybody.

Reyes countered: The foundations had been utilized pretty to everybody. It was a matter of “workers’s discretion” about what was thought of full, he stated. They weren’t on the lookout for correctness, not at first, he stated. They have been simply ensuring that every one the packing containers have been checked.

Council’s response

The Metropolis Council wasn’t swayed by Dodd’s arguments, even whereas admitting that it raised doubts about workers’s software of the foundations.

“The workers rationalization on this entire distinction between completeness and correctness has left us all just a little baffled,” Mayor Terry Tornek stated. He wasn’t ready to second-guess workers’s judgment, he stated, acknowledging the method was extraordinarily difficult.

The problems with different functions could be resolved with litigation, Tornek stated. Lots of the lawsuits filed in opposition to the town have raised related points as Dodd’s considerations.

The enchantment targeted narrowly on whether or not Candy Flower’s software was full, Councilwoman Margaret McAustin stated. It wasn’t in regards to the different functions. Metropolis workers is “actually checking the packing containers,” McAustin stated. And the licensed surveyor “was a selected requirement, however you didn’t submit it.”

Councilman Victor Gordo, who in the end voted with the bulk in opposition to Candy Flower, was just a little extra skeptical.

“I’m not satisfied we have been as clear as we must always have been on the requirements and explanations,” he stated.

The only vote in Candy Flower’s favor got here from Councilman Tyron Hampton.

“Based mostly on what was introduced right this moment,” he stated, “it seems like nobody had an entire software.”

If Candy Flower’s enchantment had been granted, it could have knocked two different cannabis operations — Harvest and Integral — out of authorized areas. Each would have been inside the 1,000 foot restrict of one other cannabis retailer. Each corporations confronted hearings with the Planning Fee on Wednesday night time.