Dixon City Council Paves Way for Three Pot Shops

The Dixon City Council at its meeting this past Tuesday, October 24, took major steps towards permitting legal sales and processing of cannabis (marijuana). The discussions on six separate motions were contentious and lengthy.
The council split 3 to 2 on the first hearing to adopt an amendment to the city’s Municipal Code regulating medical marijuana dispensaries to allow “recreational” sales and to allow non-retail processing. Mayor Thom Bogue, Councilman Ted Hickman and Councilman Devon Minnema voted yes, while councilmembers Steve Bird and Scott Pederson voted no.
The five other votes were on: establishing a pilot program allowing up to three dispensaries as well as processing facilities; adopting an ordinance to allow BEGK – a cannabis retailer – to operate; a subsidiary action to adopt a Development Agreement with DEGK setting requirements and fees; another ordinance to allow Dixon Indoor Farming Properties (DIFP) to process cannabis and by- products; another subsidiary action adopting a Development Agreement with DIFP. That firm will extract cannabis oil, but is not open to the public. The Development Agreements were passed by unanimous vote of the council
The original staff report, previously recommended by the Planning Commission, only allowed two cannabis facilities. The same council majority supported increasing that to three – arguing only two would not provide enough data to determine the benefits of the pilot program.
If the ordinances pass on the final vote at the next council meeting, the cannabis businesses will still have to pass other hurdles. They must get a conditional use permit, which allows the council to have the final word.
The firms would also have to pay substantial fees. Each would pay $25,000 for receipts from $0 to $500,000. From that to $1 million the fee is $50,000; from $1 million to $1.5 million the fee is $75,000. From $1.5 to 2 million gross fee is $100,000.
At next council meeting the council will also decide on a tax of 5% to 10% on gross receipts. The council could impose up to a voter approved 15%. In the November 2016 election, Dixon voters went 4,635 for and 2,506 against imposing the tax up to 15%.
One argument from the public particularly persuaded the council majority. A Dixon student said she would prefer buying marijuana from a regulated retailer than on the streets where it could be laced with more dangerous chemicals – which she had experienced. However, even under the relaxed state pot laws, it still will be illegal for minors to buy or use cannabis.
 

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