It’s been a long time coming – and there are still hoops to hop through – but cannabis is finally coming to a store near you in Oakdale, possibly as soon as March.
Two companies, JDI Farms and MDS Business Services, beat out 14 competitors in the race to be the first businesses to open storefronts within city limits following the recent state decision to legalize marijuana.
But the victory didn’t come cheap.
In addition to the $5,000 permit fee that each applicant paid just to file the paperwork, the winning applicants had to be willing to pay a one-time $50,000 Law Enforcement Cannabis Impact Fee as well as a monthly Public Benefit Fee for the first three years of a development agreement.
According to City Manager Bryan Whitemyer, the Public Benefit Fee will be a minimum of $15,000 per month or 5 percent of the gross monthly revenue, whichever is greater.
To Whitemyer’s knowledge, the cannabis dispensaries are the only businesses within the city that are required to pay the city a percentage of their revenue for the privilege of operating within the city.
Additionally, Whitemyer acknowledged that the $50,000 fee was unique to the cannabis pilot program but stated the fee would help assuage costs associated with enforcement that may be incurred by this particular business model.
“It’s almost like a start-up cost,” Whitemyer explained, adding that the hiring and outfitting of additional law enforcement would be necessary and that fee funds collected would be earmarked for that purpose.
According to the city, the final three candidates were determined to be qualified but the CBR (Cannabis Business Review) committee felt it prudent to give the proposals with the “greatest guaranteed financial benefit” top consideration.
All of the proposals were judged against the following criteria:
Security and logistics.
In the end, JDI Farms and MDS Business Services edged out the third candidate as the most beneficial to Oakdale.
“It was a very competitive process,” Whitemyer said at the Tuesday, Jan. 16 council meeting.
Both applicants plan to obtain cultivation, manufacturing and distribution licenses in addition to their dispensary operations, which will result, collectively, in $648,000 hitting the city coffers.
Darren Silva, owner of JDI Farms, addressed the council briefly, stating, “We are fully experienced and ready for this opportunity” – referencing their successful operations in other cities.
Projected figures for the Public Benefit Fee Revenue are estimated at $1,026,000 for MDS Business Services and $960,000 for JDI Farms.