The proposal and possible consideration to move forward with two cannabis dispensaries in downtown Porterville is before the Porterville City Council today, listed as Items 31 and 32 on the agenda, when they meet for their regular scheduled meeting at 6:30 p.m.
The meeting is available via telephone at 1-669-900-6833; on Zoom with ID 912-1341-6298 and passcode 279962; or via YouTube. Public comments may be submitted to CouncilMeetingComments@ci.porterville.ca.us and will be read aloud for Council consideration during Oral Communications or during any public hearings as applicable. Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments prior to 6;30 p.m. today to participate in the meeting. Staff will periodically check for emails that may have been submitted after 6:30 p.m., however it’s not guaranteed those emails will be read prior to Council action.
The dispensaries, Culture Cannabis Club and Haven No. 7, are proposing to be located at 230 N. Main St., and 1 West Morton Avenue, respectively, with property owners listed as Jovita Franklin and Letsinger 1995 Trust, also respectively.
The actual owners are listed as Coast to Coast Caregivers, dba Culture Cannabis Club out of Irvine, and Culture Cannabis Club in Porterville for the first dispensary. And Haven #7 LLC, c/o Joe Velazquez in Irvine; and Hussein Rayani from Porterville both listed for the Morton Street dispensary.
On Nov. 3, 2020, City Council selected to begin the negotiations on a Development Agreement with both proposed dispensaries based on the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee input. Both projects went before the Project Review Committee, the first in February and the latter in April of 2021.
The Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee conducted several meetings with the applicants in negotiation of the draft Development Agreement which includes provision for the term of operation, operational guidelines, community relations and employment. Both carry an initial term of 15 years with an option to extend the agreement for an additional five years. Both must comply with California Cannabis Laws and only transact business with other legally persons and entities.
In addition, the owners are required to establish and implement a public outreach and education program.
The two businesses would also establish and implement a community benefits program which could include senior citizen programs, City beautification efforts, funding for enforcement against illegal cannabis operations, public safety, housing programs, economic development, infrastructure efforts, capital improvements — including expansion and/or improvement to existing facilities or other physical improvement that provide a benefit to the community; support of holiday and special community events; and support of local public service, public safety, and special social and community organizations.
The owners of both sites have agreed to pay the City, as a business expense, an annual sum of $30,000 or 1-percent of the owner’s annual gross receipts, whichever amount is greater, from the commercial operation on the premises.
The community benefits program is in addition to the cannabis business tax which is an annual Commercial Cannabis Business tax at a rate established by Resolution of the City Council, but not more than 10 percent of annual gross receipts. The current rate adopted by the City Council on Dec. 15, 2020, is at 7 percent of annual gross receipts per fiscal year.
It’s recommended that City Council conduct a public hearing and consider public testimony, and approve and offer a first reading to the ordinance approving the agreement with both businesses.
In the drafts, the businesses would agree to local recruitment, hiring and training programs, as well as feature or provide a historical/artistic feature at or near the property, such as the completion of a mural located on the second story of the 230 North Main building — subject to review of the City Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee and City of Porterville Arts Commission, and subject to the approval of the City Council prior to the commencement of the work on the feature, and the feature must begin within one year of the opening of the business.
Both businesses have submitted security plans to the city with everything from visitor, customer, and personnel security, to cannabis product tracking, as well as ensuring public safety for their sites and surrounding areas, including scenarios of threats, risks and of appropriate responses to them.
“The City of Porterville has very specific security requirements for cannabis business and Haven intends to meet and exceed those requirements,” the Haven security plan states. “The operators of Haven understand the responsibility that they will be given if granted a permit for this business and are committed to partnering with the City Manager and the Police Chief to ensure that every possible measure will be taken to secure the facility, protect the employees, and to ensure public safety for the site and the surrounding area.”
Culture Cannabis Club also submitted their overview and detailed security measures, guided by nine security principles from the City of Porterville Ordinance.
In addition, both businesses supplied site and floor plans, and agree to incorporate odor control devices and odor absorption ventilation systems on the premises to ensure odors from on-site cannabis operations aren’t detectable offsite.