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Corcoran Joins Cannabis Competition

July 6,2017-

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 7.03.39 AMCorcoran has joined Hanford, Coalinga and Woodlake in the Central Valley looking to attract large marijuana commercial growing facilities that could boost these towns’ economies.

At their June 13 meeting the Corcoran City Council heard there was interest by commercial cannabis growers in industrial sites in Corcoran.

That includes Sacramento-based Genezen whose spokesperson asked the council if the city would consider enacting an ordinance to allow indoor commercial cultivation. By a 4 to 0 vote, one member absent, the council suggested they wanted more discussion about the idea.

Corcoran City Manager Kindon Meik says at their June 27 session the council had a discussion about their options under Prop 64 for local regulation coming to the conclusion they wanted to look at allowing commercial cultivation but not approve local dispensaries that sell pot.

Meik says the city has now been approached by multiple companies including some of the same firms that are working with the City of Hanford wanting to locate industrial-size facilities to take advantage of the new law allowing sale of marijuana.

Meik says while they are moving forward they are “not in a hurry” despite a January 1, 2018 date when such operations can start doing business in the state.”We do not need to meet a specific deadline” although they aim to have a policy in place this year, he adds.

Meik says one company may not wait to tie-up property adding he understands they are making a bid on a vacant 80,000sf building in town that sits on 20 acres, the former Seward Luggage space at 1200 Orange Ave in Corcoran, a property served by rail. The city has over 320 acres of industrial land.

While cities can’t ban the indoor cultivation of pot they can enact “reasonable regulation” says a recent League of California Cities report discussed by the council. Cities have the choice of allowing both recreational and/or medical marijuana growing facilities among other options.

In some communities there has been opposition to any such operations while others including property owners, who have been sitting on long-vacant property, are understandably proponents looking to boost activity from a new start-up industry that is sweeping both California and other states.

Less expensive land is the lure for companies eying the Central Valley for locations who still need the cooperation of municipalities willing to work with the industry.

In Woodlake, a property owner is funding a consultant-led city study to look into the idea. Woodlake is considering putting a cannabis tax measure on the November 2017 ballot. Bruce Kopitar who owns US Tower in Woodlake that includes vacant industrial land, is backing the $30,000 study under the name Woodlake Holdings LLC. Kopitar is listed as the agent for the LLC. The Woodlake City Council meets next on July 10.

In Corcoran, Meik says a public hearing on the cannabis idea is expected later but not until the city comes up with a firmer plan.

If property owners want to join their competition in other towns, companies like Genezen appear to be eager for more competition on potential sites as well and are not hesitant to help fund the effort.

Genezen recently paid the City of Hanford $50,000 to help offset the cost of creating a new ordinance that would allow for medical cannabis industrial businesses, it was reported. The company is said to be looking at property last used for cotton storage in town – 48 clustered warehouses totaling 1.6 million square feet.

This week the Hanford City Council is set to vote on a proposed medical marijuana growing ordinance that would include allowance of up to 3 cannabis campuses in the industrial area. Residents would get their chance to vote on a special tax on that business in November of next year.

But other jurisdictions like Kings County itself, have no interest in going down this road despite stories they hear that this is a cash cow for government that can be well regulated. The LA Times recently reported estimates that the now legal pot business will become a $5 billion industry in the future. Critics fear the effect of widespread pot availability on our youth.

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