Herald American

Unsuccessful pot applicants get second chance in Bellflower

By Arnold Adler

Contributing Writer

BELLFLOWER — The four applicants who were unsuccessful in their bid for a medical marijuana dispensary permit last Dec. 18 will have a second chance for a permit at a public session before City Council May 29.

Under a procedure approved by the council May 14, the applicants must submit by May 22 arguments on how their operation would benefit the community, how they could help the community, their long-range community goals and why the council should pick them for the one dispensary permit available.

The vote was 3-0 with Councilmen Juan Garza and Ron Schnablegger recusing themselves because of conflicts. That leaves Mayor Ray Dunton, Mayor Pro Tem Sonny Santa Ines and Councilman Dan Koops to make the final decision May 29.

Garza said his employers have done business with some of the applicants. Schnablegger owns land near one of the sites competing.

City Attorney Karl H. Burger said the applicants will be ranked from one to four based on their presentations. At least two of the three officials must agree on the number one ranking under the process proposed by staff.

Randi L. Stover, assistant to City Manager Jeffrey L. Stewart, said that the four applicants last December received conditional use permits for a medical marijuana dispensary on their land but lost out to four other groups seeking the operational rights.

However, one of the four recipients, Running Leaf, 15524 Lakewood Blvd., voluntarily surrendered its permit, Stover said.

Noting that a medical marijuana dispensary is estimated to generate $150,000 in sales tax to the city, the council agreed to replace Running Leaf with one of the four applicants who did not make the final cut for a dispensary.

They are Medical Wellness, 17812 Bellflower Blvd.; EEL Holdings, 9032-9038 Artesia Blvd.; Joint Forces, 10040 Artesia Place; and Dab Shop, 8820 Artesia Blvd.

The applicants have already been given background checks and submitted other required information and have paid the $20,500 fee for administrative costs, Stover said.

(The background check fee was not refundable to those not selected.)

Stover said the other three applicants selected for dispensaries in December have activated their permits. They are CalCann, 8846 Alondra Blvd.; and Caliva, 9535 Artesia Blvd.; dispensaries only; and Medicine Women, 9058 Rose St., dispensary and manufacturing permits.

Other permits approved Dec. 18 are BB&Y Logistics, 8832 Ramona St., cultivation; and Joint Forces, manufacturing, cultivation and distribution.

The council directed staff to report back with a process to award three remaining non-dispensary permits offered by the council in December but not filled. No date was set.

Stover said the remaining permits could be for manufacturing, cultivation or distribution.

“We need to get this process going to begin collecting sales tax revenue,” Koops said.

“The bottom line is to obtain revenue for the city,” Dunton said.

Council members last year agreed to offer 12 permits, four of them four medical marijuana dispensaries, in hopes of gaining an estimated $1.6 million in revenue.

Those funds would replace income from the five-year two percent utility tax hike, approved by voters in 2012 and which expired last year.