By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
WOODLAKE – Over the last year Woodlake has set the market for Tulare County cannabis tax collection.
Over the last four quarters the City has collected $400,836.31 worth of cannabis tax revenue. Just over a quarter of that total, $108,347.16, came in between January and March of this year. All of which came from sales at their lone dispensary in downtown, Valley Pure.
In 2018 Woodlake collected a total of $129,467 in cannabis tax. According to community development director Jason Waters the City collected $83,070 over the period of July through September, the first quarter of the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The City then collected $163,022 between October and December. But before that, in the last quarter of their 2017-2018 fiscal year— the period between April and June—the City collected $46,397.
But revenue is not going to stop there. Last September Woodlake approved one of its first regulatory and conditional use permits to cannabis cultivator, 7 Point LLC. They are currently renovating the former packing house on Naranjo Boulevard, across from the Dead Rat Saloon. The project required a zone change and annexation of the 7.72-acre parcel before the facility can be considered for cannabis cultivation.
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 said in an interview last fall.
Waters welcomed the company for similar reasons, stating last year that it was a win-win for 7 Point and the City as the project would renovate some blight, but also add jobs in the area.
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 added.
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 Waters, as of now the City is unsure how much tax revenue can be gained from the new business, because they have not received their specific license yet.
“Hard to tell [how much the facility is going to make annually] at this time what they will actually operate. We should know more within a month once the State issues their type of license,” Waters said.
If they operate as a cultivation facility, Woodlake would tax them on a $6 per square foot rate. For dispensaries, such as Valley Pure, the City charges at 5% of gross receipts tax. Both of those rates do not appear to be going up in the near future.
“We review our tax structure annually to stay competitive with the industry. We do see the structure changing in the near future,” Waters said.