CALEXICO â€“ The Calexico city council voted unanimously 4-0 during Wednesdayâ€™s city council meeting to approve and amend the current city ordinance and allow regulatory permits to qualified establishments for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distributing and transportation facilities within the city.
This ordinance excludes the medical marijuana dispensaries. Councilwoman Maritza Hurtado was not present during the meeting.
According to the specification of the amended city ordinance, cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, testing, or transportation facilities shall be permitted upon application approval of a regulator permit pertaining to the operation of the facility.
â€œWe are living in really historic times,â€ said Armando Real, Calexico mayor. â€œCannabis right now is a $5 billion industry and it’s going to grow to $20 billion and even more.â€
Prior to obtaining a regulatory permit, all applicants must obtain and maintain a conditional use permit pertaining to the location of the facility, with prior validation issued by the city per the appropriate codes. Employers and employees of the facility where the cannabis will be kept will be required to undergo a security and background check. The facility will be required to have set hours of operations as well as the ability to secure the cannabis during non-business hours.
â€œI believe there is nothing controversial here and there is no danger and nothing to fear, this will be well regulated,â€ said Bill Hodge, councilman. â€œWhat this ordinance is going to do is to regulate and allow a particular plant (cannabis) which has been around for a long time to be cultivated and distributed to other southern coastal cities. As a Calexico citizen, you will never see, smell or touch a plant. You will never know it exists.â€
â€œWe cannot miss out on this profitable opportunity,â€ said Hodge. â€œThe excise tax that is going to come here is going to be very profitable and this is an endeavor that can happen relatively soon and bring millions in revenue to Calexico. We must be visionary and progressive and forward looking.â€
Calexico resident Maribel Padilla agreed with the council and said the ordinance would bring the city much needed revenue.
â€œMany of my family members have suffered from ALS and I wish they would have had the opportunity to try this,â€ said another Calexico resident and city employee. â€œThis would have given them a better quality of life.â€
She also said allowing this industry would bring the city revenue to sustain the city staffâ€™s payroll and assist the cityâ€™s financial deficit.
â€œWe have gone from 250 employees to about 150, our city is lacking and itâ€™s ugly,â€ said Real. â€œWe need revenue. Being the first in the county to do this is very progressive. I hope this industry booms and Calexico can be at the forefront.â€