Request to Finalize Chico Commercial Cannabis on the next City Council meeting, June 2nd. Originally scheduled, March 17th.
Dear City Manager, Mayor and City Council:
We are citizens, business owners, workers, parents and caregivers who make our homes in Chico. We are taxpayers and voters and volunteers and donors. Where possible we are sheltering in place; engaging in protective practices when we must go out; and we are in complete support of recent decisions to minimize risk from public council meetings and to tighten our governing focus. We acknowledge and appreciate the extraordinary burden that you and your staff are shouldering in these very challenging times.
It is both despite and because of this that we are writing to formally request that you return commercial cannabis to the agenda at the next possible opportunity. Ideally at the upcoming June 2 council meeting.
We are aware that some will say that this doesn’t rise to the level of essential city business. We disagree. The impetus to bring these ordinances forward starts with honoring the will of the voters and demonstrating compassion for our citizen consumers. But its urgency lands solidly in the realm of economics. In our current circumstances, how can we do better than putting people back to work, generating new sales tax revenue, and stimulating the economy with the use of trade and professional service providers?
When we launch commercial cannabis enterprises, Chico will:
Overcome the challenge to safe local access exacerbated by sheltering in place
Create hundreds of jobs with solid career paths for local workers, all at living wage or above
Generate sales tax revenue from projected $2.5m or more in local monthly sales
Immediately divert tax revenues back to Chico from out of area delivery services.
Stimulate immediate and ongoing economic growth from multiple new businesses hiring architects, plumbers, and painters; engaging attorneys, CPAs, and insurance agents; acquiring fixtures and furnishings and equipment; and contracting janitorial, security and payroll services.
We, as a community, have been consistently moving commercial cannabis forward since the election of 2016 when a strong majority of Chico citizens voted to legalize access. Commercial cannabis was part of the platform that succeeded in our 2018 elections. City staff, council members, and community volunteers have spent hundreds of manhours in the 15 months since the current initiatives were first introduced to Council. Multiple votes to move forward – by City Council, the IAC and the Planning Commission - have been taken.
It’s time to take the next step, the step that was on calendar for March 17: first reading of the set of commercial cannabis ordinances. Let this industry get moving. Let our local entrepreneurs spend this “down” time preparing to open their doors, to create jobs, to generate revenue and economic growth, and to offer our citizen consumers the safe local access to which they are entitled.
P.S. It is worth noting that even under California’s mandatory shutdown, many municipalities have classified cannabis dispensaries as “essential businesses” - allowed to continue operating to serve their communities.