Woodlake to open Boys & Girls Club

City uses cannabis grant to open Boys & Girls Club this summer at Woodlake Community Center, operated by the city and Boys & Girls Club of the Sequoias with coordination from school district

WOODLAKE – The city’s investment in the cannabis industry is starting to flower, in the form of a long-awaited boys and girls club set to open at Woodlake Community Center this summer thanks to a $600,000 cannabis-related grant.

The club will serve at least 100 pre-teen and teenage youth yearly, and will be open daily for at least four hours to provide youth tools for academic success, to build good character and citizenship and to develop healthy lifestyles through healthy diet and commitment to fitness. The plan is to achieve these outcomes for youth via mentorship-based programs, service-based programs and curriculum focused on substance abuse prevention and teaching leadership skills.

Jason Waters, Woodlake’s community services director, said the goal is to have the club up and running by July or August. The grant is for operating the program for three years, which will be operated by Woodlake and the Boys & Girls Club of the Sequoias with coordination from Woodlake Unified School District.

New money, new progress

It’s no secret that Woodlake has become a destination for the cannabis industry in Tulare County, and community projects like the boys and girls club are just the beginning of what’s possible with the money coming in. Since passing Measure S—a local tax on marijuana businesses at a maximum rate of 10% of gross receipts or $25 per square foot—in 2017, the city of under 8,000 has amassed about $1.5 million in marijuana tax revenue, with about $880,000 that has been reinvested into parks and recreation.

Woodlake’s current tax rates sit at 5% of gross receipts and $6.00 per square foot for cultivation, but that doesn’t include the heap of annual regulatory fees for operating marijuana businesses within the city. Retail calls for $10,144 annually, manufacturing $20,234, testing labs $4,450, distribution $4,454 and cultivation—$10,139 for up to 5,000 square feet, $15,209 for up to 22,000 square feet.

Some businesses, like the upcoming Consolidated Gardens, approved in March by the planning commission, check multiple boxes—four in the case of Consolidated Gardens, approved for conditional use permits for cultivation, distribution, manufacturing and non-storefront retail. Woodlake gives a 10-15% fee reduction for combining two or three licenses respectively.

But the boys and girls club comes from a different upside to getting into the cannabis industry: access to state funding. Waters said last week the city was awarded $600,368 from the state’s Prop. 64 Public Health and Safety Grant Program, which awards money from the state’s cannabis tax and fee revenues to cities that allow for commercial cultivation and retail sales of cannabis.

“Not only are we getting revenue locally, but it also made us eligible on the state side of things—we were able to get some money there too, which is pretty nice,” Waters said.

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