Petaluma’s Commercial Cannabis Ordinance

Table of Contents

Background of Petaluma’s Commercial Cannabis Ordinance

On December 18, 2017, Petaluma’s City Council adopted a cannabis ordinance that addresses commercial cannabis permit eligibility, commercial cannabis permit applications, renewals, transfers, denials and revocations, and commercial cannabis business operating requirements, among other items.

On February 26, 2018, Petaluma’s Economic Development Manager recommended that the City Council adopt an Ordinance that amends the text of the Zoning Code to accommodate commercial cannabis businesses in the Business Park (BP) and Industrial (I) zones. These proposed amendments were approved by the City Council at the first reading of the Proposed Ordinance on February 26.

Allowed Uses in Petaluma

Under the Cannabis Ordinance, Petaluma will allow for medical and adult-use commercial cannabis testing laboratories, manufacturing, and delivery-only retail. All Cannabis Businesses must obtain an annual commercial cannabis permit, which program will be managed by the Petaluma Police Department.

The recitals contained in the Proposed Zoning Ordinance state that “The text amendments contained in this ordinance would allow qualified commercial cannabis businesses to operate under City issued permits to 1) re-tenant existing commercial and industrial facilities designed to support such uses; 2) replace, modify or otherwise reconstruct existing commercial and industrial facilities with a new structure of substantially the same size, purpose, and capacity; and/or 3) construct new small structures including fences, gates, greenhouses, and small-scale commercial and industrial facilities.”


All commercial cannabis businesses in Petaluma must comply with applicable setbacks, as outlined in the Staff Recommendation and Proposed Zoning Ordinance:

  • At least 600 feet from school or childcare center,
  • At least 200 feet from parks, youth centers, or the library, and
  • At least 100 feet from residential districts.

These distances will be measured from property line to property line.

No Conditional Use Permit Requirement

Within the Staff Recommendation, it is stated that “As a result of a number of features included in the City Council’s adopted Cannabis regulations, it is sufficient to permit commercial cannabis activity in BP and I districts by right (subject to compliance with the City’s Cannabis Regulations) without also requiring cannabis business operators to obtain conditional use permits. Under the City Council’s adopted regulations, commercial cannabis permits will be issued annually – providing a 1-year entitlement to conduct a commercial cannabis activity.”

Delivery-Only Retail Request for Proposal (RFP) Process

Notably, Petaluma will only issue a total of two (2) delivery-only cannabis retail permits to cannabis businesses in the City. These permits will be issued through a “Request for Proposal” process, which process shall be administered by the City of Petaluma’s Police Department. The Request for Proposal must include information such as the background and experience of the Applicant, the proposed business plan, the financial strength of the applicant, a security plan, and positive references, among other items.

For further information about the City of Petaluma’s Cannabis Ordinance, please contact an attorney with Rogoway Law Group.

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