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Cash for grass: Arroyo Grande sets fees for marijuana services 

If you are one of the medical marijuana delivery services hoping to operate in Arroyo Grande, you’d better be ready to fork over a different sort of green to City Hall.

The city recently set its fees for mobile dispensary businesses that get approved to operate within the city limits under a new permitting structure approved by the Arroyo Grande City Council in June. The fees for that permitting process were approved by the council at a Sept. 13 meeting.

Under the new fee structure, a medical marijuana delivery service will have to pay at least $722 to get licensed. That includes a $600 application processing fee, a $92 background investigation fee, and $30 for an identification card and vehicle permit fee. Licensed delivery services will have to be renewed each year at total cost of $565.

In addition to paying fees for a operational license, mobile medical marijuana businesses looking to do business in the city will also have to pay an additional $772 per driver for a delivery driver permit. Those permits must also be renewed each year at a total cost of $622 each.

“It’s very similar to what we do with taxi cabs,” said Debbie Malicoat, Arroyo Grande’s director of administrative services.

According to a report from city staff, the fees were developed after an analysis to determine the direct cost of conducting background checks on both the businesses and individual drivers. That includes not only the cost of running the checks, but the time that department staff, the police, or other city employees spend processing the permits.

Even with the new ordinances and fees, city residents shouldn’t expect to see an explosion of licensed delivery services. The city’s new medical marijuana ordinance only allows for up to three delivery services to get licensed and permitted to operate in Arroyo Grande—and only after a rigorous selection process that ends with a final OK from the city’s chief of police.

As of Sept. 28, the city had not announced if it received any permit applications from mobile dispensaries. 

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