Del Paso Heights Community Discuss Commercial Pot Businesses

SACRAMENTO -- About 20 people typically show up to the Del Paso Boulevard Partnership Board meeting every month, but that number doubled on Monday after neighbors learned Sacramento's Office of Cannabis Police and Enforcement would be there.

City representative Zarah Cruz fielded questions about the community's concerns regarding recreational pot dispensaries.

"My concern, which is the concern of a lot of our residents, is that people from outside the community come from outside the community to take advance of this opportunity," neighbor Mervin Brookins said.

Brookins has lived in the neighborhood his whole life. The area now holds the second largest number of applications for new cannabis business permits in the city -- 40 out of 115.

Brookins wants people actually from the neighborhood be given priority.

Others want the money made by any future Del Paso Boulevard marijuana business to go back into the community.

"We don't want to bear the burden of the growth without seeing the benefits," neighbor Alicia Sebastian said.

Seven Leaves is a cultivation facility near Del Paso Boulevard. Operator Tyler Kearns says he's tried to keep everything local for the last two and a half years.

"We hire local contractors, local employees," he said. "We do beautification on the property we have here."

Meanwhile, Cruz says educating the public in meetings like this is key.

"This is still a brand new and still evolving industry," Cruz said. "I can still feel the stigma with marijuana so it'll take a long time. It'll take years to change that narrative."