Farmersville poised to become cannabis center

Valley Pure currently has a location in Woodlake. Soon, it could expand to Farmersville. Courtesy photo

State approval is the only obstacle left to Farmersville becoming Tulare County’s new cannabis sales center.

City manager Jennifer Gomez says two of the three recreational cannabis storefronts already approved by the Farmersville City Council are awaiting their sales licenses from the state and then will be ready to open their doors.

Valley Pure, which operates the county’s only recreational cannabis sales point in Woodlake, will likely be the first to open its doors in Farmersville.

“They have their building permits and are doing some remodeling,” Gomez said. “They’re waiting for their state permit, then they’ll be ready to go.”

 

Location Tipped Scales

The three businesses will be located in the city’s industrial center near Highway 198 and Farmersville Boulevard.

Requiring the trio of businesses–Valley Pure, Token Farms and Platinum Connection–to hang their shingles at the edge of town, according to Gomez, was key to getting the city council to approve the idea of cannabis sales in the town of 11,000 residents.

“The council didn’t want it in our downtown,” she said. “At that location, it will allow easy access from the highway. I don’t know that if we didn’t have that location the council would have allowed it.”

 

Following Woodlake’s Lead

While Gomez is uncertain how much revenue bringing cannabis businesses to Farmersville will generate, she expects their returns to beat those of Woodlake. The city hopes for great returns despite not knowing how much future cannabis sales tax revenue to expect.

“It’s really hard to know at this point. We just look at Woodlake to give us some kind of idea,” Gomez said. “I just expect to exceed what Woodlake has because of our location and because we have three dispensaries.”

Woodlake is currently the only city in Tulare County that allows recreational cannabis sales. In its first year of business there, Valley Pure’s flagship location generated more than $400,000 in sales tax, much of which has been spent improving public safety for the town. Tulare may soon join them, with a ballot measure on recreational cannabis sales in that town set for 2020.

 

5% Pot Tax

Farmersville is also mimicking the way Woodlake taxes the newly legal intoxicant.

“We’re also 5%. We just matched Woodlake’s tax rate,” Gomez said. “We wanted to make sure we were being competitive with any neighboring agency. They were the only one close by. No reason to go lower than them.”

Wes Hardin, manager of Valley Pure, previously said Woodlake’s middle-of-the-road tax rate was one of the main reasons the business chose to open its doors there. Other California cities have set their cannabis sales tax rate as high as 10%.

 

Popular Idea

Other Valley cities are also getting on the recreational cannabis bandwagon.

In March of this year, about the same time Farmersville took the plunge, Hanford approved cannabis sales for recreational purposes, allowing two dispensaries to open in its downtown area and a pair of pot delivery businesses to operate out of the city’s industrial park.

Last month, Lemoore became the second Kings County city to approve the sale of recreational cannabis. Fresno has also approved sales of recreational cannabis, while the Visalia City Council continues to balk at the idea.

The increase in tax revenue seems to be the motivating force in welcoming cannabis dealers to town.

“I think that, honestly, the potential revenue we’d be getting in it is a large factor in it,” Gomez said. “We have various large projects around town, that revenue will allow it, and buying new equipment.”

Farmersville’s city manager also hopes cannabis sales will bring new businesses to town.

“It’s my hope that will encourage other development by the highway, as well,” she said.

 

Growing Industry

Storefronts aren’t the only cannabis-related industry Farmersville is welcoming. Again following Woodlake’s lead, Farmersville will consider allowing processing and the growing of cannabis inside the city limits. But, that remains a possibility for the future.

“We do allow cultivation, manufacturing, just no one has submitted any applications for those kind of businesses,” Gomez said.

Platinum Connection, which has yet to construct the building that will house it, has expressed interest in growing its own cannabis.

“In future, they’d like to have some facilities for cultivation,” Gomez said.

They apparently aren’t the only ones interested in growing cannabis in Farmersville.

“I know there is interest in doing cultivation, but no one has moved forward on doing an application for cultivation yet,” Gomez said.

 

Waiting on the State

Not only is Farmersville’s administration unsure how much revenue to expect from the sales of cannabis, it also doesn’t know when the flow of new cash will start. Gomez is hoping to see the new riches arriving no later than the start of next year, though it may not take that long.

“I’m honestly just waiting until January,” she said. “If I see anything come in sooner, I’ll be happy.”

Causing the confusion is the state-level bureaucracy. As with the approval of alcohol sales licenses, permits to sell recreational cannabis are controlled by the state government.

“I don’t know how long the state will take to issue these licenses,” Gomez said. “The dispensaries could be ready to go, just waiting for the state. They could be sitting here twiddling their thumbs. We don’t know how fast the state is issuing license.”

 

Not Counting Unhatched Chickens

While Gomez expects sales tax from cannabis to enrich the city’s coffers and improve the quality of life for Farmersville residents, she doesn’t believe it will bring radical changes to the city’s spending.

“Say (tax revenue is) like $500,000 a year. It sounds like a lot of money,” she said. “But, say we’re doing street improvements. They can be more than a million dollars.”

While Farmersville will be using the money cannabis sales generate for some large projects, it won’t be using those funds to hire new personnel.

“We’re not going to use it for salaries,” Gomez said. “We want to see if these businesses are going to stay.”

For now, there are no plans to spend revenue the city has yet to earn, but Gomez promises good things ahead for Farmersville.

“We’re being cautious with how we’re going to use that revenue,” she said. “We’re certainly going to put to good use.”

12 thoughts on “Farmersville poised to become cannabis center

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  1. Disgusting and wrong! What is this world coming to? Those of us who do not approve of the legalization of marijuana need to do everything we can to make it illegal again. It’s not safe, people! It’s dangerous and deadly! Wake up!

  2. Sorry but the minority of people who think Cannabis is dangerous or a risk won’t be to change a thing. How about you focus all of your “concern” on drugs like alcohol and tobacco that actually kill millions and millions.

    • Are you insane? Marijuana is a very dangerous and deadly drug! It affects your judgement and should, in no way, be legal! Not only that, it stinks, and some people nearly gag just smelling it in the air! If you think that marijuana isn’t dangerous, think again! I feel sorry for anybody who thinks otherwise! And what if somebody tries to drive down the road while they’re high on that stuff? That person could cause an accident! It wouldn’t be any different than driving while drunk! I live in Farmersville, and this disgusts me to no end! It also scares me to death! I know there are other people living here who agree with me on this, because I’ve talked to them about it, and they share my opinion! If you think that the legalization of this drug isn’t a cause for concern, you are very, very wrong!

    • Did you even read the article you linked. You realize that the source you cited states “However, a large case-control study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found no significant increased crash risk attributable to cannabis after controlling for drivers’ age, gender, race, and presence of alcohol.”

      You have a problem with a substance that is heavily controlled and taxed. But alcohol and tobacco are sold everywhere and advertised to children.

      • It doesn’t matter! Marijuana is still a dangerous and deadly drug! Look, I would never wish injury or death on anyone, but one day, you might very well learn the dangers of marijuana the hard way! You could be smoking this stuff while driving down the road, and the effects of it could make you so high, that you might actually cause an accident! Or somebody else could be doing the same thing, and could also cause an accident! You could be laid up in the hospital with severe injuries and be on the brink of death as a result of this, and the other person could be dead! Or it could be the other way around! Or it could also happen to a friend or a family member of yours! Are you telling me that you don’t care about what happens with your own life or the lives of others because you just love how this drug makes you feel? I just pray to God that you and everybody else who smokes this drug will one day wake up and realize just how wrong you are! Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s okay!

        • Yeah I’ll take my chances with stoned drivers. It’s drunk drivers that I worry about. Please don’t pray for me either. I don’t need the support of you and your imaginary beliefs.

          • Both drunk driving and driving while stoned, are stupid and dangerous. It’s not just your life we’re talking about, here. What about the lives of others? I have friends and family members who live here in Farmersville, and in nearby towns. I worry that one day, we’ll be hearing some devastating news that one of these people was involved in a deadly accident, and that the accident happened because some pothead was smoking a joint while driving! The same could happen with drinking. Both smoking marijuana and drinking are equally stupid and dangerous. And as far as being “controlled,” once somebody buys marijuana or liquor, they may not be able to control how much of either one goes into their system, because they love how it makes them feel. They become a threat to their own lives, as well as to the lives of others! And yes, I will be praying for the day that this mess will be over! I’m sorry you don’t believe in God, but you will not force your atheistic beliefs on me!

  3. It’s so funny to see the older generations struggle to come to grips with the fact that society is leaving them behind. We live in a time we’re scientific research is readily available yet we hold onto this Reefer Madness state of mind. At least our country is starting to take a modern and educated approach to our fail war on drugs. The second we start treating drug abusers like the sick individuals who need support and treatment and not just label them criminals will make inroads to cure this nation wide epidemic. Throwing someone in jail just long enough for them to detox and release them out society will only result in reoccurring problems. Modern problems require modern solutions.

  4. And let’s not even get started on prescription drug abuse cause I’m sure no one is concerned about Doctors becoming the new drug dealers.

  5. I guess you care more about getting high than you do about your own life, or the lives of others! Somebody could be killed in a car accident that was your fault, because you were smoking a joint while driving, and you could be badly injured as a result, but none of that would matter to you, because you just looooove how smoking a joint makes you feel! That seems to be way more important to you! You need help!

    And as far as prescription drugs go, I’m aware of that too! Drug abuse is incredibly stupid, regardless of the drug you’re talking about! In this case, we’re talking about marijuana. You say it’s controlled, but once a person gets his hands on it, he cannot control the amount that goes into his body, because, to him, getting high feels so good, that he wants more and more!

    Look, you and I have differing opinions on this subject. It”s obvious that I can’t change your mind about it, so I’ll just put this matter in God’s hands and let Him handle this as He sees fit. Maybe then, you and others who smoke marijuana will finally see the truth!

    • My smoking days are just a distant memory now. Drinking and driving or smoking was never a thing for me. Keep on assuming what I do and how I live my life. Prejudice and stereotyping isn’t very Christian now is it? Enjoying a smoke/drink/other random vice every once in while and being a good person with a good moral compass are not mutually exclusive. But yes we will never agree on this subject but I do remember when I felt the same way you do. First hand experiences and always keeping an open mind allows me to change my stance on this topic and so many others.

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