Monday, August 6, 2018

Cannabis Lounges, Lane Changes to H and I on Eureka Council Agenda

Posted By on Mon, Aug 6, 2018 at 10:07 AM

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The Eureka City Council will consider Tuesday giving direction on potential regulations for onsite cannabis consumption as well as alterations to H and I streets to make the thoroughfares more bike and pedestrian friendly.

A staff report asks the council to look at framework options for establishments that could allow the consumption of cannabis in its many forms, noting that the retail market is growing in the city following the legalization of recreational marijuana this year, but state regulations greatly restrict where the products can be used.

“For instance, cannabis cannot be legally consumed in vehicles, in public places, or most hotel rooms. Primarily, cannabis can only be consumed within a person’s private residence,” the report states. “Accordingly, tourists passing through Eureka would have great difficulty in securing a legal place to consume cannabis after making a purchase at a Eureka-based Cannabis retail facility. The most likely solution is ‘on-site cannabis consumption lounges.’”

The report also notes that the council had asked staff to research the subject, stating opportunities could include “a cannabis tavern which would be similar to a neighborhood bar, a cannabis café which focuses on cannabis edibles, a ‘bud-and-breakfast’ overnight tourist experience, a ‘cannabis spa’ using topical products, or a cannabis restaurant serving cannabis infused meals.”

“For those who rent their homes and for those staying in visitor accommodations, there may be no legal outlet for cannabis consumption within city limits,” according to the report. “The lack of appropriate locations in which adults can consume cannabis products increases the chances of inappropriate consumption of cannabis in public spaces.”

The staff report offers three ways retail licenses could potentially be obtained: A single option that covers onsite or offsite consumption or both, a two-tier route with options for licenses that either allow buying onsite for use elsewhere or onsite use, or a four-prong approach with license options for offsite consumption, onsite topicals only (no tinctures, editable vaping or smoking), onsite but non-smoking use that allows vaping, edibles, topicals and tinctures only, and an onsite license that allows smoking cannabis as well as other uses.

The agenda item also asks the council to consider how to conduct requests for proposals for the licenses. Under state regulations, onsite consumption can only take place at licensed facilities under certain criteria, including restricting access to persons 21 or older, no visible consumption from any public space and no sales or consumption of alcohol.

In other businesses, the council will consider whether to move forward with a project that would reduce the number of lanes on H and I streets from two to three between J and E streets from Sixth Street to Harris Street.

The agenda states the reduction would provide space for a buffered bike lane or a separated bikeway and the proposed changes were the subject of several community meetings seeking input.

Three concept summaries are included for the council’s consideration in the Eureka North-South Multimodal Corridor Plan (available in full below):

Plan 1: On Harris Street, striping is added on the roadway to indicate parking. A buffered bike lane (Class II) is added on the roadway between a travel lane and
parking. Bulb-outs are added at intersections along with a bike box at the controlled intersection of Harris Street and H Street. On H and I streets, three travel lanes are reduced to two travel lanes. A buffered bike lane (Class II) is added on the roadway between a turn lane and parking. Pedestrian improvements are added at intersections such as bulb-outs, high-visibility crosswalks, flashing beacon systems, lighted crosswalks and rectangular rapid flashing beacons.

Plan 2: On Harris Street, striping is added on the roadway to indicate parking. A separated bike lane (Class IV) is added at the same elevation of the crosswalk beside parking. Bulb-outs are added at intersections along with protected intersections where Harris Street connects with H and I streets. On H and I streets, three travel lanes are reduced to two travel lanes. A separated bike lane (Class IV) is added at the same elevation as the crosswalk beside parking. Pedestrian improvements are added at intersections such as bulb-outs, high -visibility crosswalks, flashing beacon systems, lighted crosswalks, and rectangular rapid flashing beacons.

Plan 3: On F and G streets, striping is added on the roadway to indicate parking. A bike boulevard (Class III), by sparrow pavement markings indicating the roadway to be shared by bicyclists, is added to the roadway. Pedestrian improvements are added at intersections such as bulb-outs, high-visibility crosswalks, flashing beacon systems, lighted crosswalks, and rectangular rapid flashing beacons.

Costs for the project options range from $4.7 million for concept one, $7.5 million for concept two and about $700,00 for option three, with the report prepared by TJKM Transportation Consultant with assistance from the Redwood Community Action Agency also offering potential grant funding options.

The 6 p.m. meeting takes place in city hall at 531 K Street in Eureka. The council is also slated to discuss the city's relationship with the Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction.

Read the draft report below:
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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