Redondo Beach October 2022 Special Election – Measure E, Commercial Cannabis Voter Initiative

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This post on Redondo Beach’s October 2022 Special Election commercial cannabis voter initiative (Measure E) was initially published on October 18, 2022. An update with the election results was posted on October 20, 2022.

UPDATE (October 20, 2022):

On October 19, 2022, City of Redondo Beach residents got the chance to vote in a special election on, among other things, a commercial cannabis business voter initiative known as Measure E.

Well, the votes are in, and Measure E failed in an epic way after approximately 75% of voters voted against it. According to the semi-final results released by the City of Redondo Beach at the close of the polls on October 19th, of the 9,586 votes that were cast by that time, only 2,376 were cast in favor of Measure E while 7,210 votes were cast against it.

Given the fact that the Redondo Beach City Council unanimously opposed the Measure and there was more than a little drama regarding the Measure’s proponent, the Measure’s failure comes as little surprise.

ORIGINAL POST (October 18, 2022):

On October 19, 2022, the City of Redondo Beach, California is slated to hold a Special Election during which Redondo Beach residents will have the opportunity to vote on, among other things, a city wide ballot initiative measure to adopt a cannabis regulation ordinance known as Measure E.

Measure E was placed on the ballot via the citizen voter initiative process, which means that the Measure was not written by the city and according to local reports, the Measure is unanimously opposed by all Redondo Beach City Council members.  

Per the ballot title and summary prepared by the Redondo Beach City Attorney, Michael W. Webb, Measure E is “an initiative ordinance to (1) allow a maximum of three cannabis retailers in Redondo Beach; (2) repeal the City’s prohibition on commercial cannabis activity (except for deliveries of medicinal cannabis) and allow the City Council discretion to legalize other cannabis uses; and (3) impose operational, design, and location requirements on such businesses.”

Application Review and Permit Issuance Processes 

If passed by the voters, Measure E would require the Redondo Beach City Manager to make applications for ministerial commercial cannabis retail business permits available within forty-five (45) days of the Measure’s effective date and keep the application window open for a total of thirty (30) days thereafter. 

Minimum Application Standards for Cannabis Retail Business Permits

According to Measure E, after the application window closes, the City Manager will only have thirty (30) days to review all applications received and reject any such application’s that fail to meet the minimum application standards which include, but are not limited to, things like:

  1. an appropriately submitted application fee, 
  2. sufficient evidence of the applicant’s legal right to use the proposed property for the proposed use, 
  3. sufficient evidence demonstrating that the proposed property complies with the location and zoning requirements outlined in the Measure, 
  4. proof of funds, 
  5. appropriate plan sets and renderings, 
  6.  completed background checks for each owner and manager of the applicant entity,
  7. various operational plans, and 
  8. proof that at least 40% of the applicant entity is owned by a person or multiple people that have an aggregate ownership interest of at least 40% in one or more other cannabis retail businesses licensed by a city, county, or the state since at least March 1, 2019. 

Scoring and Ranking Commercial Cannabis Retail Applications

Within sixty (60) days of completing the first round of cuts based on, among other things, the application requirements outlined above, the City Manager will then be required to review and score any remaining applications pursuant to the scoring metric described in Measure E. Specifically, points will be available in the following categories:

  • Category A: Qualifications of Applicant’s Owners and Managers – 250 Points Possible
  • Category B: Plans, Renderings, and Overall Location – 100 Points Possible
  • Category C: Business and Operations Plans – 75 Points Possible
  • Category D: Security Plan – 100 Points Possible
  • Category E: Safety Plan – 100 Points Possible
  • Category F: Neighborhood Compatibility Plan – 75 Points Possible
  • Category G: Community Benefits Plan – 100 Points Possible
  • Category H: Labor and Employment Plan – 200 Points Possible

Awarding Available Cannabis Retail Business Permits in Redondo Beach

Once the City Manager has reviewed, scored, and ranked all applications that made it to the ranking phase, he/she/they shall award the available commercial cannabis retail business permits to the highest ranked applicants in the order of their rank. According to Measure E, in the event of a tie, the City Manager will break the tie and issue the remaining commercial cannabis retail business permits to the applicant(s) with the highest scoring application components in the following order: (1) qualifications of the applicant’s owners and managers; (2) labor and employment plan; (3) plans, renderings, and overall location; (4) security plan; (5) safety plan; (6) community benefits plan; (7) neighborhood compatibility plan; and (8) business and operations plan. 

In the event of a tie on all application components between one or more applicants in line to potentially receive commercial cannabis retail business permits, the tied applicants will be required to make public presentations before the City Council.  After the presentations conclude, the City Council will rank the applicants and the remaining commercial cannabis retail business permit(s) will be issued to the ranked applicants in the order of their ranking until all available permits have been issued. 

Redondo Beach City Council and Public Concerns

While voters in the Beach Cities overwhelmingly supported the legalization of recreational cannabis in 2016, Redondo Beach City Council and some community members have expressed concerns about Measure E because, if passed, it will (1) override the City’s recently approved cannabis regulations (which were drafted by City staff and adopted by a vote of the City Council in July of 2022), (2) create an application processing scheme that allegedly favors the proponent’s personal interests and (3) limit the City’s ability to amend its cannabis regulations in the future. 

If you are in Southern California and paying attention to the state of the cannabis industry, Redondo Beach’s special election is one to watch. Check back here for updates as the election results come in. 

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