Woodlake plans to approve third pot center this year

The city begins processing a new application for a pot distributor on Blair Road near Ropes, it is expected to be 86,400-square feet

WOODLAKE – The city that pioneered the cannabis tax in Tulare County is adding another location to town.

Woodlake is processing a new application for a pot distributor on Blair Road near Ropes, on open land owned by businessman Bruce Kopitar. The plan, submitted by Woodlake Holdings, is to build an 86,400-square foot metal warehouse cannabis distribution facility with secure loading bays, offices, restrooms, a break room, locker room and employee area.

The site is on the same property as Kopitar’s US Tower facility and GreenSmart cannabis cultivation operation. The application says the company wants to construct a new commercial drive approach, 87 parking spaces, associated landscaping and install a septic system which will be utilized until city wastewater connections are available.

Construction is to begin later this year and is expected to finish by 2022.

The project at full build-out will require approximately 20 employees and will operate from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The warehouse expects to generate an average of 20 deliveries per day using standard vans, with a total of 80 generated daily trips.

In July Woodlake City Council approved site plans for Bosky Genetics Cannabis Facility. The cannabis cultivator plans to construct a new warehouse on Lago Avenue where they will grow marijuana in a climate-controlled setting. Jason Waters, Woodlake’s community services director, said the building permits will be the longest wait to get the new-build cannabis cultivator up and running.

“Honestly, with the [cannabis] conditional use permit, within 60 days we can get through that process,” Waters said.

Part of the cannabis industry’s flock to Woodlake comes from the city staff’s ability to help business through the local and state cannabis permitting processes quickly. In addition to the conditional use permit, a regulatory cannabis permit is needed to allow the business to operate within the city, as well as a state license to operate a cannabis business.

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 has amassed about $1.5 million in marijuana tax revenue. About $880,000 that has been reinvested into parks and recreation. The city has even landed $600,358 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—and will open a Boys and Girls Club with the funds.

Woodlake’s current cannabis 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.

As of now, Bosky Genetics Cannabis Facility will pay the city cultivation and gross receipts taxes. 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% to 15% fee reduction for combining two or three licenses respectively.

Tulare added

Kopitar is the principal with the firm Valley Pure who has dispensaries in Woodlake, Farmersville, Lindsay and Lemoore. The city of Tulare recently approved a permit to Valley Pure to operate in Tulare. The award will require Valley Pure to enter into a development agreement.

Woodlake has been enjoying increased revenue from cannabis operations in the city that include one manufacturer, two cultivation facilities, one distributor as well as two retail dispensaries in town.

City revenues from cannabis operations have grown from $46,000 the first year to $646,000 in the 20/21 fiscal year. Over a four year period revenues total about $1.75 million.

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