Antioch has approved its third cannabis dispensary and delivery service.
The City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to let Alluvium Inc. manufacture cannabis products. Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock dissented.
“I would like to proceed with caution,” Ogorchock said. “We have approved two so far. I have to be very reserved on this. I would like to see how — in the next couple of years — how they go.”
Alluvium Inc. plans to open its dispensary on Crow Court, in the same northwest Antioch business park as the other previously approved dispensaries. The business will operate on a 1.15-acre site in a 7,260 square-foot facility, of which 2,740 square feet is to be reserved for manufacturing and the rest for an eight-car delivery service and the dispensary. The dispensary also will sell vaping and cannabis paraphernalia, according to Alluvium.
The council also agreed to give the business a Type N infusion license that allows it to manufacture edible and topical cannabis products.
Several members of the public spoke against the proposed project.
Dr. Jeffrey Klingler of Antioch suggested the council wait until one of the previously approved stores is up and running.
“Consider that to this day, none of the approved marijuana stores are operating,” he said. “This means you have no idea if those businesses and their plans are actually going to work. A reasonable person would put a hold on future permits until the already approved businesses can demonstrate that they actually work.
“How many marijuana stores are enough?” he asked. “I hope none of you dream of our city becoming Northern California’s marijuana mecca. Because I can tell you right now, I’ll be honest with you, that’s not the kind of city I want to live in.”
Plans for the business include 24-hour guards in the early days of operation, with the possibility of cutting back on hours afterward, and installation of a locked wrought-iron fencing as well as surveillance cameras.
But Partha Chowdhury, an Antioch registered nurse, still urged the council to reject the application, pointing to the dangers of marijuana and related businesses.
“Nobody knows more than me what is marijuana,” he said. “….Would any of you give marijuana to your children? I won’t.”
Chowdhury said one of the biggest problems with marijuana is it can’t be easily detected, which becomes a problem with impaired drivers.
“So far, there is no instrument that can detect that a person has taken marijuana or not,” he said. “While driving, you are an illusion. You don’t know if you are on the road or on the river — if you are standing on the floor or on the top.
“I have all the regards for the people (business operators) who are doing these things, but money is not everything in this world,” he added.
Derek Baker, who owns a cannabis business in Palm Springs, countered that capitalism will help decide which businesses thrive.
“Market dynamics are what will bring us the best dispensaries,” he said.
Baker also suggested that crime will decrease where dispensaries go.
“You want to grow the crime, don’t allow legal business and the illegal business will thrive,” he explained.
Councilwoman Monica Wilson suggested the northwest business park may soon be too full for more dispensaries, but Forrest Ebbs, Antioch’s community development director, said a couple more could fit there. He noted the city has not limited the number of dispensaries allowed.
“I do agree that we will probably hit market saturation citywide,” he said, noting that the other cannabis district on Wilbur Avenue has far less infrastructure to accommodate the businesses.
Wilson also pointed out that with a licensed cannabis dispensary in the city, the tax revenue stays in Antioch. Marijuana delivery businesses that operate elsewhere or are not licensed, on the other hand, don’t pay taxes.
“The clear difference is that we would be paying our taxes so the city would see the benefit of the revenues,” Alluvium CEO Patti O’Brien said. “On Weedmaps, they don’t pay taxes. So it’s an ongoing issue.”