Farmersville council faces budding concern over cannabis deliveries

Farmersville City Council tables the decision to amend the city’s cannabis retailer ordinance to allow delivery-only businesses to operate in Farmersville

FARMERSVILLE – Delivery-only cannabis businesses have to wait and see if they can open up shop in Farmersville after the city council decided to table the topic during their meeting on Monday.

One existing cannabis retailer voiced his concern at the Jan. 9 city council meeting over allowing delivery-only cannabis retailers into Farmersville. Two other delivery-only retailers not currently operating in the city attended the meeting to support expanding the city’s cannabis ordinance. This would allow for more cannabis businesses to operate in Farmersville, specifically delivery-only businesses.

The Farmersville City Council members deliberated for an hour whether delivery-only services would hurt or help residents and current cannabis retailers. On one hand, they want to give residents the ease and affordability that a delivery-only service would bring. On the other hand, it could heighten competition for the current retailers in the city. The council was conflicted, and decided to table it and return to the topic once more information is available.

“While the city would see additional revenue from these delivery-only businesses, it could be offset from any reduced revenue from our current retailers,” city manager Jennifer Gomez said. “On the other side of these deliveries-only businesses, they would likely operate out of other jurisdictions…the competition would still probably exist.”

Knowing that the council was hesitant to make any decision on the matter, city attorney Michael Schulte stepped in and stated that the council’s loyalty is not to the businesses, per se, but rather to the residents. The ease that delivery-only businesses could bring to people and the revenue that it could bring into the city makes the delivery service a viable candidate for business in Farmersville. 

On a different note, Charles Woody of Platinum Connection, one of Farmersville’s in-person cannabis stores, argued that delivery is already an upcoming feature for his business. Woody said it will be a feature that is just as much of a priority as in-person sales for him, eliminating the need for delivery-only services to come into town. He made the point that the three in-person businesses in Farmersville allow the residents to have a safe place to buy cannabis. He also said that taking care of the businesses is also taking care of the businesses that serve the citizens. 

“We are going to be attacking [delivery sales] very aggressively,” Woody said. “It is a focus of our business, and I believe it is a focus of the other two [in-person cannabis] businesses as well.”

At the meeting, Raymond Rincon-Facio, who was inquiring about opening a delivery service, presented why it could benefit Farmersville. He brought with him a cannabis lawyer, William Logan, who lives and breathes cannabis law, according to Rincon-Facio. They made the case that current cannabis businesses in the city, which are Token Farms, Valley Pure and Platinum Connection operate in a storefront location. Though these businesses have a delivery option, they also have to support their storefronts, causing higher prices and less focus on delivery, according to Rincon-Facio.

“The cannabis delivery service would be able to operate quietly in the public eye with no signage and still generate substantial revenue for the city of Farmersville,” Rincon-Facio said. “[Online services] are becoming more and more popular every day. It is because it’s convenient, it saves the customer money and saves us time, and it’s only getting more popular.”

Currently, the city’s cannabis ordinance only allows for three cannabis retailers to be in the city, which are spots already taken. The city would have to amend this ordinance to allow for a fourth, or even more, cannabis retailers in the city. Out of these three in-person retailers, Token Farms and Valley Pure are able to do deliveries, and Platinum Connection is on its way there.

“[Delivery-only businesses] will put the city of Farmersville in a great position for any change in the market. Whether customers want to continue to shop at traditional brick and mortar dispensaries, or choose to make the shift and shop online, the way more consumers are doing every day, the city of  Farmersville will have both sides covered,” Rincon-Facio said.

Additionally, Juan Hernandez, the CEO of cannabis delivery service CVAULT based out of Oakland, was present at the meeting to show his support for delivery services. Though CVAULT is based out of Oakland, Hernandez had originally sought the council’s approval to operate in Farmersville back in 2019. However, he was denied and instead sells to Central Valley customers from his headquarters in Oakland. Since then, he has grown to deliver from San Francisco all the way to Bakersfield.

“As far as the competition from brick and mortar and delivery, I see them as two different things. I always like to reference them more like Walmart and Amazon,” Hernandez said. “There’s a very big opportunity as far as the scalability of one license.”

Councilman Paul Boyer echoed Woody’s perspective, and said that there are in-person businesses in town that have invested a lot of money into the community. Boyer said that he believes if the city can help them stay afloat by limiting competition in Farmersville, they should. On the flip side, Councilman Greg Gomez said that this is an option that the city should start leaning towards, especially if it would add to the city’s revenue and expansion.

“I think it’s an opportunity for us to at least consider moving in that direction and allowing a limited number of licenses. It’s two different ways of dispensing, distributing and selling. They don’t necessarily cancel each other out,” councilman Gomez said. “[Businesses are] already competing more with outside businesses that deliver, so it’s not something new.”

If the city were to entertain the idea of a delivery-only retailer, it would solely be online. Since these businesses do not have a storefront, their focus is on their drivers, who would hop in their delivery trucks as soon as an order is made. There are already delivery-only services in other cities, which do have customers in Farmersville already. If Farmersville had their own delivery-only service, they would not only get the revenue from cannabis taxes, but also keep their residents buying local. 

“Some cities are saying ‘absolutely not, we’re not going to allow [delivery-only services],’ and in those instances, they can’t prevent the deliveries,” Schulte said. “They’re getting the deliveries in town, they’re getting the traffic, they’re just not getting any of the revenue for it.”

After much deliberation, Schulte gave the council the recommendation to table the decision for now, while he did a bit more research. That way, he could present the council with more information in their next meeting to give them a better understanding of the topic. The next city council meeting will be held on Jan. 23.

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