Woodlake collects $130K in cannabis tax in 2018

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Woodlake collected $83,070 in first quarter from Valley Pure dispensary, totaling $129,467 in 2018

By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
WOODLAKE – Woodlake just continues to watch the green roll in through the first quarter of their fiscal year.
In 2018 Woodlake has collected a total of $129,467 in commercial cannabis taxes from Valley Pure. According to community development director Jason Waters the City has collected $83,070 in cannabis tax revenue over the period of July through September, the first quarter of the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Before that, during the fourth quarter of the 2017-2018 fiscal year­—between April and June—the City collected $46,397.
This latest collection was put towards some finishing touches on the Woodlake Community Center. Waters says they used the money to purchase kitchen equipment and wall padding for the basketball court. The taxes did not fund the entirety of those items but they contributed.
The latest collection was produced from the City’s five percent tax on gross receipts from the dispensary. Woodlake does have the ability to tax dispensaries as high as 10 percent. But that is not where the largest amount of green will come from. Instead the largest tax generators will be cultivators, and the City already has one on the way to opening and a few others moving their way through the process.
In July Woodlake was given the go-ahead to annex a portion of Tulare County property across the street from the Dead Rat Saloon on Ave. 344 into the city limits. Since then cannabis cultivator Seven Point has taken the abandon Sun Pacific packing house facility on the property and is in the midst of renovating in it for use.
Wayne Bishop, CEO of Seven Point says the company bought the packing house in January because of its good infrastructure.
“Since [the city of Woodlake] annexed it into the city, we’ve done all of our permitting for the facility and we’ve been issued our regulatory permits on Monday. If all goes well, we’ll get our state license and have this facility open before the end of the year,” Bishop said in an interview with the Sun-Gazette in September.
According to Woodlake City Council, 7 Point intends to operate an 116,320 square foot cannabis cultivation facility on the south side of Ave 344 between Road 196 and State Route 216. The project required a zone change and annexation of the 7.72-acre parcel before the facility can be considered for cannabis cultivation.
Bishop said the reason why his company chose the city of Woodlake, which has a population of fewer than 8,000, was because of its location in California in relation to bigger cities and because of its stance on cannabis business.
“[Woodlake] has a good tax base structure and it has a municipality that is very ‘pro’ on cannabis, so there were several reasons why we decided to open shop there.”
Bishop also says the City of Woodlake has been very helpful in the process of opening the cannabis facility.
“I would say our track record of actually starting from scratch and annexing [the land] into the city and getting all of our permits in eight months is a pretty impeccable record I think it’s partly due to our experience and also partly due to the City of Woodlake in being helpful in getting this facility permitted. We are very thankful that they have been a good city to work with.”
With the onslaught of cannabis-related license and permit applications being requested from the City of Woodlake, Bishop hopes to see less competition and more conducive environments in this “green rush”.
“This industry needs a good track record, so we’re here to help not just ourselves but others,” said Bishop. “If we can, we’d like to be able to form relationships and partnerships that we can eventually complement each other, so I’m hoping to have less competition and more friends in the business.”
According to Woodlake City Council, the improvements to the facility include installation of curb, gutter and 5 foot sidewalks along the front of the facility on Naranjo Boulevard.
Security will include installation of a security gate, lighting, fencing, and an alarm system in accordance to Woodlake Municipal Code. This would also include a live surveillance feed to police headquarters.
On Nov. 7, 2017, Woodlake residents voted on Measure S, which enacted a cannabis business tax on all cannabis businesses within Woodlake city limits, authorizing the city to levy a local tax on marijuana businesses at a maximum rate of 10 percent of gross receipts or $25 per square foot. The Woodlake Cannabis Tax Measure authorizes City Council to establish the tax rates for all cannabis businesses within Woodlake city limits.
And as of the city council’s Nov. 26 meeting, Seven Point will have a neighbor. Woodlake city council voted in favor of a conditional use permit to allow a second cultivator on the street, Uncle Green. Water’s says that operation will not be anywhere close to done soon because of the extensive renovations.