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Commission Appears Poised to Deny Proposal of Third Stockton Dispensary

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STOCKTON - City leaders on Thursday approved two of the Stockton's first three medical marijuana dispensaries regulated under the city's new ordinance but appeared poised to reject the third over concerns that it is too close to homes and has inadequate parking.

The Stockton Planning Commission delayed action on a dispensary proposed for 1220 W. Fremont St. - within walking distance from a dispensary approved earlier in the night - in theory giving the applicants until July to potentially modify their proposal or meet with neighbors. But commissioners indicated they were ready to deny the proposal.

"Those homes have been there a long time," commission Chairman Sam Fant said. "And to have a lifestyle where (residents) will be affected - I have a concern about that."

The city's ordinance prohibits dispensaries from locating within 300 feet of a residentially zoned property, but the homes across from the collective are actually in a commercially zoned area, city officials said.

Still, several residents opposed the dispensary.

"We're going to change Fremont Street to Cannabis Row," said Bob Larson, a nearby business owner.

The pot shop is proposed to be operated by two former mortgage brokers who opened a dispensary in Sacramento called El Camino Wellness Center. The group would lease the space from Stockton attorneys Douglas Rishwain and J.T. Rishwain Jr. Under the lease agreement, the cooperative's monthly rent would be calculated in part by factoring in average daily patient transactions.

The commission Thursday approved the other two medical pot outlets amid scattered concerns over security. The commission's decisions are final unless appealed to the City Council:

One dispensary will be housed at 678 N. Wilson Way, in Eastland Plaza, a shopping center owned by developers Anthony and Edward Barkett. The dispensary will replace a nail salon and share a building with a furniture store.

The Barketts are helping finance startup costs and will act as landlords, according to their application.

The dispensary would be operated by managers and employees of the Fruitridge Health & Wellness Collective in Sacramento.

There was much discussion about security at the east Stockton location, where there were 1,124 calls for police service in the past year, officials said. Those calls ranged from the minor, such as traffic stops and 911 hang-ups, to one homicide.

The applicants assured commissioners they would have heavy security, including armed guards. All applicants were required to provide detailed security plans that featured locked entrances, security guards, video surveillance and other features.

The dispensary was formerly called Stockton Patient Collective, but its operators tentatively changed its name to Collective 209 - until planning commissioners objected over concerns that using the area code in southeast Stockton would inadvertently promote a popular gang sign.

The other approved dispensary will be located at 1550 W. Fremont St. and be called Port City Health and Wellness. Partners in this project include Stockton real estate broker Tony Hermosillo and David Michael, president and CEO of Pacific Development Group.

The Planning Commission's actions Thursday nearly brought full circle an extensive process that began in late 2009, when a dispensary opened on East Acacia Street and forced the city to address the issue of regulating such outlets.

City Hall successfully fought to shut down that dispensary and, by the following August, adopted its first set of dispensary regulations.

There are pages of requirements: dispensaries cannot locate within 600 feet from another dispensary, school, park, library, child care facility or community center, for instance. Members can't use marijuana within 200 feet of a dispensary.

The number of dispensaries is capped at three, with a future limit of one per 100,000 residents as the city grows.

Stockton voters in November also cleared the way for the city to levy a 2.5 percent tax on sales at the outlets.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: recordnet.com
Author: Daniel Thigpen
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Copyright: San Joaquin Media Group
Website: Commission appears poised to deny proposal of third Stockton dispensary
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