Woodlake City Council passes Conditional Use Permit for cannabis cultivator 7 Point LLC
By Stephanie Barraza
Special to the Sun-Gazette
WOODLAKE – On a dusty road surrounded by orange trees and leading into the entrance of Woodlake, CA, a relatively new crop will see the growth of a fast-moving industry.
Woodlake City Council approved one of its first regulatory and conditional use permits to cannabis cultivator, 7 Point LLC, on Monday, Sept. 10 with a 3-0 vote.
The conditional use permits include nine cannabis cultivation licenses, one manufacturing license and one distribution license.
Wayne Bishop, CEO of 7 Point LLC, says they bought the abandoned Sun Pacific packing house facility in January because of its good infrastructure.
“Since then, [the city of Woodlake] annexed it into the city, we’ve done all of our permitting for the facility and we’ve been issued our regulatory permits on Monday. If all goes well, we’ll get our state license and have this facility open before the end of the year.”
Bishop says they are currently under construction in modifying the facility in relationship to the permits that were issued, which includes four phases.
“Phase 1 through 3 will be under existing restructure and phase 4 will be a mixed light purposely built green house for cannabis. Once that is all said and done, we’ll have about 100,000 square feet of canopy,” said Bishop.
According to Woodlake City Council, 7 Point intends to operate an 116,320 square foot cannabis cultivation facility on the south side of Ave 344 between Road 196 and State Route 216. The project required a zone change and annexation of the 7.72-acre parcel before the facility can be considered for cannabis cultivation.
Bishop said the reason why his company chose the city of Woodlake, which has a population of fewer than 8,000, was because of its location in California in relation to bigger cities and because of its stance on cannabis business.
“[Woodlake] has a good tax base structure and it has a municipality that is very ‘pro’ on cannabis, so there were several reasons why we decided to open shop there.”
Bishop also says the City of Woodlake has been very helpful in the process of opening the cannabis facility.
“I would say our track record of actually starting from scratch and annexing [the land] into the city and getting all of our permits in eight months is a pretty impeccable record I think it’s partly due to our experience and also partly due to the City of Woodlake in being helpful in getting this facility permitted. We are very thankful that they have been a good city to work with.”
With the onslaught of cannabis-related license and permit applications being requested from the City of Woodlake, Bishop hopes to see less competition and more conducive environments in this “green rush”.
“This industry needs a good track record, so we’re here to help not just ourselves but others,” said Bishop. “If we can, we’d like to be able to form relationships and partnerships that we can eventually complement each other, so I’m hoping to have less competition and more friends in the business.”
According to Woodlake City Council, the improvements to the facility include installation of curb, gutter and 5 foot sidewalks along the front of the facility on Naranjo Boulevard.
Security will include installation of a security gate, lighting, fencing, and an alarm system in accordance to Woodlake Municipal Code. This would also include a live surveillance feed to police headquarters.
On Nov. 7, 2017, Woodlake residents voted on Measure S, which enacted a cannabis business tax on all cannabis businesses within Woodlake city limits, authorizing the city to levy a local tax on marijuana businesses at a maximum rate of 10 percent of gross receipts or $25 per square foot. The Woodlake Cannabis Tax Measure authorizes City Council to establish the tax rates for all cannabis businesses within Woodlake city limits.
Currently, there is one recreational marijuana dispensary shop, Valley Pure LLC, open on Valencia Boulevard in downtown Woodlake, which sell flowers, edibles, and oils among many items. According to city manager Ramon Lara, Woodlake collected $46,397 in tax revenue between April and June since the opening of Valley Pure in May.