Cannabis companies could be moving into Merced soon

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Cannabis companies could be moving into Merced soon. The city's planning commission has approved ten permits that will allow companies to start manufacturing cannabis. At the same time, the top four picks for potential dispensaries will now go to a public hearing.

Merced principal planner Michael Hren said, "There are manufacturers and cultivators of other products, and they want to be seen like businessmen, and we're excited to have them doing business here in Merced."

Merced officials say the top picks for dispensaries are Blue Fire, Green Door, Harvest of Merced and Manzanita.

Merced planning manager Kim Espinoza says the city manager, the police chief , and several other city employees spent hours going through long applications scoring the dispensaries based on different criteria.

"How close is it to public transportation? Does it have any parking? Safety features? Does it have security? They looked at all of them and scored them."

The four other companies that will be in the manufacturing or cultivation field are Blue Fire Incorporated, Connected Cannabis, S&S Company, and Original Trichome.

Merced Director of Development Services Scott McBride says, financially, the city will see revenue from Measure Y that taxes cannabis business operators, and splits a percentage of funds between the Police, Fire, and Parks and Recreation Departments.

"We have this whole new industry coming in, we have 4 businesses, they are going to hire somewhere from 15 to 40 employees. They are going to invest millions of dollars. They're going to buy vehicles and fuel. They also going to hire people so we'll get local wages from that."

The top dispensary picks will have a public hearing in front of the planning commission on September 18 and 19.

The manufacturing companies still need to get their state licenses approved, but city officials say they could be up and running by the end of the year.
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