The city of Oakdale is accepting applications for a Cannabis Pilot Program to review what type of marijuana businesses – from dispensaries to testing facilities – are interested in operating in the city.
Proposals must be submitted with a $5,000, non-refundable, application fee and there is no guarantee the City Council will approve any of the applications.
“This is simply an information gathering process,” City Manager Bryan Whitemyer said during a May 15 council meeting. “This is one way of getting from the speculations of what could happen to the reality of this could actually happen if the council and the community wants it to happen. Right now it’s this nebulous entity. With these proposals we can actually look at who are these people ... and do we want to partner with these folks.”
The city held two workshops earlier this year to get input from residents about allowing commercial marijuana businesses into the city. Whitemyer said those who attended were split on the issue, which is consistent with how Oakdale voted on Proposition 64 in November. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act passed with 57.13 percent of the vote, legalizing the cultivation, commercial sale and possession of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. The commercial sale of marijuana through dispensaries will become legal Jan. 1, 2018.
“There is nothing that we can do in the city of Oakdale to prevent access to marijuana, that decision has been made by the state voters; that ship has sailed,” Deputy City Attorney Dough White said at the May 15 meeting. “All we can do now is decide how you’re going to address it.”
Whitemyer agreed, saying Oakdale is already seeing the impacts of marijuana legalization but without funding to mitigate those impacts.
“I can tell you our police department is already dealing with the impacts of marijuana and we are not receiving anything to subsidize that,” he said. “I have children myself ... I don’t want it in my home, I don’t want it in my neighborhood but I can’t control that so I want to be cutting edge because I want to provide the best level of regulation that we can provide our community to be the safest we can be.”
White said that mostly people from out of town have shown interest in doing business in Oakdale but that locals would be given preference in the application process.
“In my estimation we could easily have 50 applications,” he said.
White said that the state will tax marijuana businesses then redistribute money to the municipalities that allow those businesses to operate.
Also, Stanislaus County and its nine cities have discussed seeking voter consent to tax marijuana locally or seek approval for a countywide taxing authority to assess the taxes and distribute the revenue to the cities and county.
Local taxes on marijuana sales could range from 7 to 15 percent. In addition, local jurisdictions can assess a square-footage charge on commercial nurseries and production facilities.
The Oakdale Council voted 3-1 in favor of accepting proposals from marijuana entrepreneurs with councilman Richard Murdoch dissenting. He said he doesn’t want Oakdale to lead the way on this issue and would rather wait to see what other municipalities do and what impacts it has.
The city is accepting proposals for any business currently legal under state law for medical or non-medical marijuana uses including dispensaries, commercial indoor cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and testing facilitates.
Qualified candidates interested in participating in the Cannabis Pilot Program must attend a pre-submittal conference on Tuesday, May 30, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.. The presence of a representative of the project team is a mandatory requirement for consideration. The conference will be held at the Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 South Second Ave., Oakdale.
Proposals are due no later than 3 p.m. on Monday, June 19.
Fore more information about mandatory qualifications and requirements for the proposal visit http://www.oakdalegov.com/.