Porterville poised to allow for three marijuana dispensaries

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- UPDATE: Porterville is moving forward with plans to allow pot dispensaries.

Tuesday night, the council approved a second hearing to allow two recreational dispensaries and one medicinal in the city limits.

The council will now need to work on a development agreement.

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During a trip to Woodlake earlier this year, Porterville city councilman Daniel Penaloza says he learned a lot about what Valley Pure, the Valley's first recreational cannabis dispensary, has done for the city's downtown.

"They told us that their taco place in the front got so much more foot traffic," Penaloza said. "The panaderia, which is the bread store, got a lot of people to go. The gas station next door, they had to put an ATM (in) because it's cash-only business."
Tuesday night, Penaloza and his fellow councilmembers approved the operation of three marijuana dispensaries in downtown Porterville.

One of the permits to be issued will be reserved for a medical only dispensary, but if no one applies for one within one year, it can be converted into a recreational permit.

"The city council has kind of done the first step which is to develop the ordinances that would support the activity," said Porterville City Manager John Lollis. "And now we're in the position of developing the second part of that which is the development agreements themselves, as well as a process to solicit those proposals."

Lollis says the development agreements are a different approach.

Most cities approve dispensaries through a cannabis tax measure, but Porterville doesn't have one yet.

It will likely develop one for the November 2020 ballot.

If a dispensary opens before then, the city will collect fees for services provided to the businesses and general sales taxes.

"The city council said as we're having thousands of city residents purchasing cannabis from dispensaries from outside the area, why not have that (here)," Lollis said. "Even if creates $50,000 in sales tax, it's still $50,000 that wasn't being created previously.

"Instead of that money going away from us, as a city, that money can kept here locally and boost our economic development and overall economic health of the city," Penaloza said.

Porterville is joining a growing list of South Valley cities who have already approved or are laying the groundwork for pot shops.

The first ones in Porterville could open by the end of the year.
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