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On Tuesday, the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission considered a request for a conditional use permit to allow Surterra Texas LLC, also known as Surterra Wellness, to establish a facility to cultivate, manufacture and distribute low-THC medical cannabis in San Marcos.

Surterra is one of three companies licensed in the Texas Compassionate Use Program to produce and sell low-THC medical cannabis for specific patient groups across the state.

The program is regulated and enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

According to the agenda, the proposed use of the property, located within the Trace Planned Department of Public Safety, falls into several categories in the Land Use Matrix within the master community and requires a CUP.

Surterra Wellness intends to build a facility to serve as bio-medical facilities, a distribution center, a food processing center (no outside public consumption) and a plant nursery (retail sales/outdoor storage).

The full list of permitted and conditional uses the proposed property falls under can be found below:

Permitted Uses

  • Offices
  • Pharmacy
  • Research Lab (non-hazardous)
  • Retail Store (under 10,000 s.f. or more bldg.) no outside sales

Conditional Uses

  • Bio-Medical Facilities
  • Distribution Center
  • Food Processing (no outside public consumption)
  • Plant Nursery (retail sales/outdoor storage)

Staff recommended the approval of the request with the following conditions:

  1. No more than 5,000 square feet of the interior of the facility shall be used for the use of distribution and the facility shall have no more than 6 distribution truck bays.
  2. All distribution truck traffic associated with Surterra shall be prohibited from using Esplanade Parkway.

Marcus Ruark, a representative of Surterra, said a prescription from a certified doctor will be required for individuals to purchase any of the company’s products; patients will be screened at the front of the facility’s retail space before being allowed into the backroom for product browsing.  

During the discussion, commissioners expressed concerns about odor emissions affecting the nearby elementary school and the surrounding area.

“If it is not a burden on the applicant, it would definitely alleviate my concerns to put an amendment in there just looking forward,” Commissioner Betseygail Rand said, requiring the company to use a closed-loop HAV system for cultivation area only.

The closed-loop system will recycle the air in the cultivation area and prevent the odor from being pushed outside.

According to the developers, the project is expected to bring at least 150 jobs and as many as 300.

Commissioners approved the CUP with the amendment to require a closed-loop system in the cultivation area unanimously.

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