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West Valley City Journal

WVC approves additional standards for potential cannabis facility

Feb 21, 2019 11:03AM ● By Travis Barton

West Valley City Council unanimously approved changes to city code placing additional restrictions on possible cannabis facilities in the city. (Pixabay)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

The West Valley City Council unanimously approved changes to show where cannabis production facilities and cannabis pharmacies are allowed to be built within the city. This comes in response to the medicinal cannabis bill, prop 2, passed in December. 

Changes to city code not only brought the city in compliance with state law, but added additional standards “that would limit the number as well as the placement of these facilities in the city,” Steve Pastorik, assistant community economic director, told city council at a study meeting in January. 

Additional restrictions for both facilities include:

  • No facility can be within 1,000 feet of another cannabis production establishment, cannabis pharmacy or alcohol establishment—any place that sells alcohol.
  • Must be 500 feet from major streets such as 5600 West, 3500 South, Redwood Road.
  • Must meet lighting standards, identified as a security measure by city officials. 

For cannabis production facilities, restrictions would include:

  • No dust, fumes, vapors, odors or waste can be emitted into the environment. 
  • No signage is allowed. This follows state law. 

For medical cannabis pharmacies, restrictions would include:

  • No drive-through service.
  • No outdoor seating areas. 
  • No outdoor vending machines. 
  • No direct or home delivery service. 
  • Hours of operation allowed are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • The maximum size a facility can be is 3,000 square feet. 
  • One pharmacy is allowed per 135,000 residents. West Valley City’s population in 2017 was just over 136,000, according the US Census Bureau. For a second pharmacy to be built, the city would need to grow to 270,000 residents.  

The number of pharmacies allowed in the state is seven, though there are provisions in place to increase that number. 

“We look at a situation where you have seven in the state, (one) would probably be our share,” Pastorik said. 

In Salt Lake County, West Valley City appears to be the first to implement such an ordinance. On Feb. 19, the West Jordan Planning Commission was scheduled to discuss potential zones where a cannabis facility could go. 

These side by side maps show where cannabis production facilities would be allowed under state code and where they are now allowed under city code. (West Valley City documents)

No residents came to speak during the council meeting where the ordinance was passed. 

“In my mind,” Councilman Steve Buhler said, “the day is going to come in the not too distant future where (medicinal marijuana) is regulated like any other medication and should probably be in all pharmacies. But sounds like that’s a long ways away from what the legislature’s going to do.”