New Marijuana Storage Business Causes Controversy

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WEST SACRAMENTO --

West Sacramento city council members approved the amendment to a newly created conditional use permit for a medical marijuana distribution warehouse within city limits.

"It's time for the industry to grow up and have facilities like this that are safe and well regulated," Mayor Christopher Cabaldon said.

Cabaldon told FOX40 this was the second time city councilors have met to discuss the specifications for the proposed development. The conditional use permit will allow a 17,000 square foot warehouse in an industrial area on the 3000 block of Evergreen Avenue to store medical marijuana, distribute and transport it between state licensed growers and dispensaries.

The facility is not a dispensary and so it will not sell cannabis directly to clients. It will also not cultivate cannabis. The permit is set up so that if recreational marijuana is legalized in California, any other services the business may wish to provide at the facility, the conditional use permit would have to be revisited.

River Wellness doing business as River Collective applied for the permit. The city has been updating zoning code in the industrial area to make sure the establishment meets all state guidelines for such a business.

Cabaldon told FOX40 since California passed legislature this year that started to map out the framework for medical marijuana transportation and distribution businesses, West Sacramento was interested in adding that type of business to the local economy.

"We just wanna make sure we've got it right," Cabaldon said.

But the council members were met with some pushback Wednesday night.

"This is wrong," local dispensary owner and medical patient rights advocate Lanette Davies said.

Davies owns Canna Care in Sacramento. She said she felt like the city's process of creating a permit for the medical marijuana warehouse did not give other businesses the opportunity to apply for the same opportunity. She was also concerned about a financial contribution the new permit says the medical marijuana warehouse would have to make to the city. The conditional use permit says the business would have to pay $2.5% of its total revenue to West Sacramento.

The idea is that nobody else got the opportunity to open one. And if they do, will the city ask 2.5% of gross sales? And can they even do that?" Davies asked.

"It's essentially a fee to operate here and for police and fire regulatory services," Cabaldon said.

Cabaldon said the business will also have strict security guidelines at the facility as well as during the transportation process. The building its self will have no identifiable signage and the vehicles used to transport medical marijuana will be unmarked as well.

Other dispensaries, like Hugs Alternative Care told FOX40 they think this sort of regulation and is the way the cannabis business is headed anyway, especially if marijuana is legalized in California.

"I think it's gonna be mandatory that we do business like that anyway, so we're gonna have to," Hugs Alternative Care Co-Owner Cathy said.