Pot dispensaries will come to Atwater after council vote

ATWATER, Calif. (KFSN) -- The city of Atwater is changing its tune about marijuana sales after city officials took a step toward opening two dispensaries.

"Atwater is just coming on board. We're going along with the train. Seems to be the most profitable," Mayor Jim Price said.

In a 3-2 vote, the city council voted to adopt an ordinance to allow the dispensaries.
Previously, Atwater's cannabis regulations only allowed commercial growth.

"The council was seeing how city's, such as Ceres, have benefitted financially. It's kind of changed the tune as far a complete ban on dispensaries," Councilmember Brian Raymond said.

The city is currently looking at ways to fix its financial struggles. Officials are hoping money from marijuana sales will get them out of the hole.

"Our reserves are non-existent. I think we're at a $2.4 million dollar deficit in the general fund," Raymond said.

Raymond voted no because he said they shouldn't limit the business.

"I voted no on the allowance of two dispensaries because I believe in the free market, and the free market will dictate. I think everybody should have the opportunity to present their application," Raymond said.

The goal is to open the dispensaries in industrial areas rather than in the middle of the city.

"if two works, maybe a third later. Modifications can always be made," Price said.

The council will have a second reading of the ordinance around June.

They don't have a set plan on when the first dispensary will open its doors.
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