The city council agreed to three separate development agreements for new recreational cannabis dispensaries on the condition they contribute to the city
TULARE – In light of the growing cannabis industry, Tulare city council approved development agreements for three recreational dispensaries in town in early April. One dispensary is in downtown Tulare and the other two will set up shop in the outlet mall near Boot Barn.
City Attorney Mario Zamora presented three recreational cannabis development agreements to the city council on April 5, where all were approved. According to the staff report, these development agreements facilitate the use of property as a retail cannabis business and formalizes their community benefits.
Valley Pure agreed to several different forms of donations to the community according to the staff report. They will provide a one-time donation of $100,000 for the purchase of two fully equipped police vehicles. Annual donations of $25,000 to the Tulare Joint Union High School District, $10,000 for use in Centennial Park, $10,000 to the Tulare Public Library and $5,000 for use on the Santa Fe Trail. These donations are in addition to the agreed upon city taxes as well as fees assessed against retail dispensaries of 5% of gross revenue. Opening a dispensary in Tulare will add to Valley Pure’s four other locations in Woodlake, Farmersville, Lindsay and Lemoore according to the Valley Pure website.
Vice president of retail and sales for Valley Pure, Tony Caudle, explained that they chose these donation areas based on who they felt could benefit the most. Caudle is excited about the new location, “It’s really special, it’s a good location. It’s probably one of the most underrated areas for cannabis in the state. So it’s going to be a good opportunity,” Caudle said.
The second dispensary to have their development agreement approved was the grandfathered Herb’N Vibes dispensary on J street in downtown Tulare. The agreement is in addition to all city taxes, Herb’N Vibes will pay the agreed upon fees assessed against retail dispensaries of 2% of gross revenue.
The Herb’NVibes dispensary is a little different from the others because it began as a medicinal cannabis shop, “We went recreational in February of 2021. However we’ve been operating medically for over a decade. Now we service both medical patients and recreational customers,”said Braden Cox, Herb’NVibes Social Media and Marketing specialist.
When Tulare City Council brought the idea of cannabis to the table a few years ago, they had to account for the already present medicinal shops. Zamora explained that members of the council at the time had agreed upon a 2% gross receipts tax for the pre-existing shops including Herb’N Vibes. As a result of being grandfathered in, they did not have to complete a request for proposal like the new dispensaries, resulting in the differing community donation.
The third dispensary to receive approval was Token Farms dispensary. Token Farms currently has a location in Farmersville. According to staff reports, their development agreement includes the agreed upon fees assessed against retail dispensaries of 5% of gross revenue. In addition to that Token Farms has agreed to pay 2% of net profits to non-profit organizations based in Tulare or Tulare County to address homelessness, underserved communities, youth, seniors, veterans and community events within the city.
Mayor Dennis Mederos was not on board the cannabis train when it first left the station, but he wants to take part in the process to assure it is done in the appropriate way and be able to get the best return possible.
“I also hope that we can take the revenues that are being generated and use them for other purposes in the city of Tulare, where we have a great need. For instance, if we can use those funds to help us deal with our homeless situation, then we’re in a position where we take these funds that we’re receiving…not in the best of light…[and] we can still take that money and use it for a good purpose,” Mederos said.
Security concerns that come along with cannabis were brought up at the council meeting on April 5, but Mederos is not concerned. The money will be used toward heightened security in different areas including in the downtown area.
“Our hope is that with additional security, which each [dispensary] is going to provide, that will enhance protection at the [Tulare Outlet Mall], even greater than what we have right now,” Mederos said.