Archive for the ‘Cannabis’ Category

Antioch council to consider two more cannabis businesses, hiring permanent city manager, again plus, discuss traffic calming needs

Monday, September 26th, 2022

Tuesday night: cannabis retail store proposed for Somersville Road, “nursery” for W. 10th St.; temporary office space for displaced non-profit organizations; $60K for “Faces of Opportunity” marketing campaign

By Allen D. Payton

During their regular meeting Tuesday night, Sept. 27, 2022, the Antioch City Council will discuss Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s proposed traffic calming devices on major city streets in response to the tragic accident that injured three school children, recently. They will also consider approving temporary office space agreements with four non-profit organizations displaced from the Rivertown Resource Center, two more cannabis businesses and funds for the “Faces of Opportunity” marketing campaign. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

During a closed session meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m., the council will once again consider hiring a permanent city manager, less than two months before the election, which is opposed by both Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, as well as the four other challengers in this year’s city council races.  (See complete meeting agenda packet, here).

Temporary Office Space for Displaced Non-Profit Org’s

During the Consent Calendar portion of the meeting agenda, the council will consider approving short-term lease agreements for temporary office space, inside the Nick Rodriguez Center,  with four of the 16 non-profit organizations that were displaced from the Rivertown Resource Center, when the city’s new Department of Community Services and Public Safety took it over, recently. The organizations include Rivertown Jamboree, Todos Unidos, Prison From the Inside Out and Mission Possible. (See related article)

Faces of Opportunity Citywide Marketing Campaign

In addition, with item K on the Consent Calendar, the council will consider spending $60,000 for a city-wide marketing campaign with Seattle-based Northwest Partners, entitled “Faces of Opportunity”. According to the staff report, On December 14, 2021, the City Council approved the marketing campaign which “focuses on real people that make Antioch a city of opportunity. The marketing team has selected a number of individuals who have compelling and inspirational stories to share.

The City Council previously authorized staff to execute media purchases not exceeding $185,000. However, the process of conducting the interviews, scheduling of the photography shoots, and creating the creative content extended beyond June 30, 2022.

Consequently, the funds authorized for media purchases were not expended. City purchasing policies require City Council authorization for payment of funds to any single vendor that exceeds $50,000. Northwest Media Partners was selected by the City’s media purchasing vendor, Orange22.”

Proposed First Cannabis Business on Somersville Road

The council will also consider approving another retail cannabis business, the first one in the Somersville and Delta Fair area at 2615 Somersville Road in the building between Wells Fargo Bank and Double Dragon Chinese restaurant.

Cannabis Nursery on W. 10th Street

The council will also consider approving the Delta View Nursery at 2101 W. 10th Street, next door to and in the same building as the Delta Dispensary.

Traffic Calming Needs Discussion

The last item on the council meeting agenda is a discussion of traffic calming devices. Following the accident caused by a driver passing in the oncoming traffic lane that resulted in serious injury of three school children walking home Friday afternoon, September 16, 2022, Thorpe and Area 1 Antioch School Board Trustee Antonio Hernandez posted a video on Facebook in which Thorpe proposed adding traffic calming devices, such as speed humps, to several city streets including Sycamore Drive, 10th Street, Davison Drive, James Donlon Blvd. and even Hillcrest Avenue.

The proposal comes after the council recently approved increasing the speed limit on several major thoroughfares in the city, including James Donlon Blvd., from 40 to 45 MPH. No action will be taken but direction to staff is requested.

Public Comments

The public has the opportunity to address the City Council on each agenda item. No one may speak more than once on an agenda item or during “Public Comments”. Members of the public wishing to provide public comments, may do so in one of the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar Platform):

  1. IN PERSON – Fill out a Speaker Request Form, available near the entrance doors, and place in the Speaker Card Tray near the City Clerk before the City Council Meeting begins.
  2. VIRTUAL – To provide oral public comments during the meeting, please click the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers

▪ You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting.

▪ When the Mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand.

When calling into the meeting using the Zoom Webinar telephone number, press *9 on your telephone keypad to “raise your hand”. Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.

Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak. When you are called to speak, please limit your comments to the time allotted (350 words, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor). The City cannot guarantee that its network and/or the site will be uninterrupted.

  1. WRITTEN PUBLIC COMMENT – If you wish to provide a written public comment, you may do so in one of the following ways by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting:

(1) Fill out an online speaker card, located at https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card, or

(2) Email the City Clerk’s Department at cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us.

Please note: Written public comments received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting will be shared with the City Council before the meeting, entered into the public record, retained on file by the City Clerk’s Office, and available to the public upon request. Written public comments will not be read during the City Council Meeting.

Viewing Meeting

Antioch City Council meetings are held inside the Council Chambers at City Hall at 200 H Street. They are televised live on Comcast channel 24, AT&T U-verse channel 99, or via live stream at www.antiochca.gov/government/city-council-meetings/live/.

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Antioch operation seizes over $7 million of illegal marijuana from multiple grow houses

Monday, September 12th, 2022

Officers from the CA Department of Cannabis Control, Antioch Polic other agencies outside one of the grow houses on August 31, 2022. All photos provided by residents who chose to remain anonymous.

17 warrants served, 10,451 unlicensed indoor cannabis plants, $23,355 in cash, six guns confiscated during two-day, multi-agency effort

Marijuana plant in trailer on Aug. 31, 2022.

By Darryl Saffold, Public Information Officer, Antioch Police Department

On Wed., August 31 and Wed., September 7, 2022, the Antioch Police Department assisted the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) with the service of several search warrants related to unlicensed indoor cannabis cultivations.

According to residents who witnessed the police action said several homes on Sanger Peak Way, Vallecito Way and Forty Niner Way were included, some red tagged with the message “Unsafe to Occupy” and some had their garage doors removed. (See photos, below)

With the assistance of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and Antioch Code Enforcement, approximately 10,451 unlicensed indoor cannabis plants were seized with an estimated value of $7.3 million. Additionally, $23,355 in cash was asset seized as well as six firearms were confiscated during the 17 warrants that were served throughout the city of Antioch.

The Antioch Police Department is dedicated to keeping the community safe and is devoted to capitalizing on any opportunity to work collaboratively with other agencies.

The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) is the California state agency that licenses and regulates cannabis businesses. DCC regulates the:

  • Growing of cannabis plants
  • Manufacture of cannabis products
  • Transportation and tracking of cannabis goods throughout the state
  • Sale of cannabis goods
  • Events where cannabis is sold or used
  • Labeling of goods sold at retail

A house on Vallecito Way was red tagged on Aug. 31, 2022.

To learn more about the Department of Cannabis Control or the laws pertaining to cannabis, please visit: www.cannabis.ca.gov.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

Another home was raided on Vallecito Way near Forty Niner Way on Aug. 31, 2022.

Red tag on a house on Vallecito Way on Aug. 31, 2022.

The garage doors of some of the homes were removed on during the raids on August 31, 2022.

 

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Antioch Council approves one cannabis business, but not the first planned for Rivertown as Wilson recuses herself

Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

District 4 councilwoman won’t say why; McCauley not happy

Approves on split vote changes to RV, boat parking ordinance allowing only 200 permits per year; allows parking on driveways in front of homes

Settle police use of force lawsuit for $495,000

By Allen D. Payton

During their meeting Tuesday night, August 23, the Antioch City Council voted 3-2 for another cannabis distribution business but split 2-2 with District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson recusing herself on the vote defeating the first cannabis retail business proposed for downtown Rivertown. In addition, the council voted 4-1 to allow RV and boat owners in the city to park them in front of their homes on their driveways. Finally, the council voted in closed session to settle a police use of force lawsuit.

RV Ordinance

The city will issue up to 200 permits per year to RV owners. However, according to the city staff report, the “946 permits from the current RV Registration System will be carried over into the new system and will not count towards the 200 annual cap.” The ordinance requires a three-foot setback from the sidewalk and property lines.

The ordinance provides the following definitions:

“RECREATIONAL VEHICLE. A personal vehicle, including but not limited to, a camping trailer, motorhome, tent trailer, fifth-wheel trailer, unmounted camper shell, boat, personal watercraft, utility trailer, or other mobile recreational equipment or watercraft, or any empty trailer intended for or capable of carrying any of the above.

MOTOR VEHICLE. Any automobile, truck, trailer, Recreational Vehicle, or other vehicle or equipment that is required to be registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.”

After previous meetings and dozens of public comments on the matter, then hearing a few more members of the public speak on both sides of the issue Tuesday night, District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock made the motion, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker seconded the motion, and it passed on a 4-1 vote with only Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica voting no.  RV Parking Ordinance ACC082322

Another Cannabis Distribution Business Approved on 3-2 Vote

The council also voted to approve another cannabis business at the former Goodwill location at the western corner of W. 10th Street, inside the same building as an existing cannabis retail business, called One Plant, which already has a use permit. (See related article)

Former Antioch Councilman and police officer Ralph Hernandez was the only person to speak on the item, opposing it stating, “marijuana is still illegally federally” and attracts crime.

“I’m kind of disappointed that the owner isn’t even here,” Ogorchock said. “I would only request that they improve the landscaping.”

“I believe the owner was present, but the first item ran long,” said Torres-Walker.

“We approved their application the first time,” Thorpe said.

Wilson moved approval of the cannabis distribution center at the location, and it passed 3-2 with Barbanica and Ogorchock voting no.

Wilson Recuses on Rivertown Retail Cannabis Business, Denied 2-2

The second cannabis business on the agenda, named FUEL to be the first one planned for Rivertown, the city’s historic downtown, was then introduced for a public hearing.

“AKA the McCauley Cartel,” Thorpe said with a chuckle.

“Something that’s been brought to my attention this afternoon,” Wilson said mentioning the city attorney, then recused herself from the dais. Asked why after the meeting she did not respond.

The council approved the downtown cannabis retail zone last year, Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs said in presenting the staff report. But the council waived the normal setback restrictions of 600 feet from a church or school.

Vinyak Shasry, the partner of Sean McCauley, who owns a variety of buildings and has brought several restaurants to the Rivertown Dining District and was also at the meeting, provided a presentation to the council “to convert what was a dance studio”.

“This will benefit the downtown area by bringing foot traffic,” he said. “It’s clean, it’s professional, it’s safe.”

The first speaker to oppose it at 11:50 p.m. was Hernandez saying, “Is marijuana healthy? No. Is it illegal? Yes. Marijuana has already been identified as a schedule one drug. Families suffer. Law enforcement is now checking drivers for marijuana.”

“The location that they showed pictures of, the dance studio, across from a federal credit union,” he stated. “Does it belong there? No. Can you guarantee our community that the people who will be under the influence of these products will be safe? I say, ‘no’.”

“They’re not going to consume them in the facility but as soon as they step out onto the sidewalk, they’re going to be walking or driving,” Hernandez stated. “It’s not going to be just restricted to this facility. They’re selling you a dream. They’re going to be using it in the streets in their cars. They’re going to make a lot of money.”

“Can’t we make money without marijuana?” he asked. “Don’t fall for this, people. Come on. If you’re really concerned about the safety of Antioch, you’ll vote no.”

Another member of the public to speak was homeless advocate Andrew Becker who said, “I want to come up and thank Ralph. It really takes a courageous person to come up and share truth. Here in California, we’ve made incredible strides in the marijuana industry and it’s incredibly disappointing to hear that the federal government hasn’t kept up with this.” He compared smoking marijuana to smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. “To consume recreational cannabis in California you have to be 21.”

Two more speakers supported the business and one more opposed it, citing the potential, negative impacts on homeless residents in the city.

During council discussion Barbanica spoke first saying, “When this overlay came before council a year ago…what I asked for simply was some boundaries, next to schools, churches, rehab centers. But it was shot down. I would be a hypocrite now to vote for something that I didn’t vote for with the overlay.”

“I do want to remind you that in that substitute motion you would have zero facilities downtown,” Thorpe stated.

“The only thing I’m looking at if this is to pass is the security on site,” Ogorchock said asking for two security officers.

“Is that an amendment the operator needs to make?” Torres-Walker asked.

“Yes,” Ogorchock responded.

“That’s part of the requirement. I believe that’s in there,” Shasry said.

“I see Captain Morefield shaking his head it’s in there, so there’s two,” Thorpe stated.

District 1 Councilwoman Torres-Walker then moved approval of the use permit for the cannabis retail business. Thorpe seconded. But it failed on a 2-2 tie.

“So, if there are two yes, two no, the motion doesn’t pass,” City Clerk Ellie Householder asked City Attorney Thomas Smith, which he confirmed.

McCauley Not Happy

Reached for comment Wednesday morning, asked if he had hosted a fundraiser for Wilson and if that’s why she recused herself, McCauley responded, “probably. But she shouldn’t have. This would have brought 1,000 new people a day and foot traffic to the downtown district. That’s the equivalent of 15 operators. The businesses need this foot traffic.”

“Right now, we have over a million dollars a month in restaurant revenue for the two large restaurants (Smith’s Landing and Monica’s Riverview),” he shared. “We need to get people into the downtown area, now.”

“They wanted it. I didn’t put the overlay down there, they did,” McCauley continued. “After I spent $10,000 trying to get it in there and getting it lined up. Then they voted it down. I don’t understand it.”

“If they’re going to have cannabis in the downtown area, I needed to control it to have the best operator to not ruin what I’ve done down there, not just some smoke shop,” he explained. “We wanted it to look like an Apple store. These are quality people, soccer moms, professionals. It’s not the black market.”

“If they want it on the outskirts everywhere else and have thousands in foot track everywhere else, fine. But they wanted it. There’s one license that they’re going to allow downtown,” McCauley stated. “That’s what our strategy was. Now, we don’t know what’s going to happen down there. We wanted to have the best operator in the downtown district. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the next person who’s going to come down there.”

“We opened Luxe Salon Studios down there. We have 40 new entrepreneurs in the downtown district. We’re trying to build momentum,” he added.

“I respect the decision of the council and would feel other operators in the downtown overlay would be treated accordingly,” McCauley stated.

Pressed further if he hosted a fundraiser for Wilson and about recusing herself, he said, “I let her use my property for a fundraiser. I didn’t contribute any money to her campaign. But I don’t really think that was the reason.”

Settle Police Use of Force Lawsuit

In other council action, reporting out from closed session before the regular meeting, City Attorney Smith said the city council agreed to a settlement of $495,000 in a case of police use of force. The motion was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barbanica and seconded by Councilwoman Ogorchock and it was approved 5-0.

Conflicts of Interest Law, Questions for Wilson, City Attorney

According to the California Fair Political Practices Commission Conflicts of Interest, “a public official has a disqualifying conflict of interest in a governmental decision if it is foreseeable that the decision will have a financial impact on his or her personal finances or other financial interests. In such cases, there is a risk of biased decision-making that could sacrifice the public’s interest in favor of the official’s private financial interests. To avoid actual bias or the appearance of possible improprieties, the public official is prohibited from participating in the decision.”

Disqualifying Financial Interests

There are five types of interests that may result in disqualification:

  • Business Entity. A business entity in which the official has an investment of $2,000 or more in which he or she is a director, officer, partner, trustee, employee, or manager.
  • Real Property. Real property in which the official has an interest of $2,000 or more including leaseholds.  (However, month-to-month leases are not considered real property interests.)
  • Income. An individual or an entity from whom the official has received income or promised income aggregating to $500 or more in the previous 12 months, including the official’s community property interest in the income of his or her spouse or registered domestic partner.
  • Gifts. An individual or an entity from whom the official has received gifts aggregating to $500 or more in the previous 12 months.
  • Personal Finances. The official’s personal finances including his or her expenses, income, assets, or liabilities, as well as those of his or her immediate family.

Disqualifying Financial Impact or Effect

If a decision may have a financial impact or effect on any of the foregoing interests, an official is disqualified from governmental decision if the following two conditions are met:

  • The financial impact or effect is foreseeable, and
  • The financial impact or effect is significant enough to be considered material.

Generally, a financial impact or effect is presumed to be both foreseeable and material if the financial interest is ‘explicitly’ or directly involved in the decision. A financial interest is explicitly involved in the decision whenever the interest is a named party in, or the subject of, a governmental decision before the official or the official’s agency.

If the interest is “not explicitly involved” in the decision, a financial impact or effect is reasonably foreseeable if the effect can be recognized as a realistic possibility and more than hypothetical or theoretical. A financial effect need not be likely to occur to be considered reasonably foreseeable.

However, for interests “not explicitly involved” in the decision, different standards apply to determine whether a foreseeable effect on an interest will be material depending on the nature of the interest. The FPPC has adopted rules for deciding what kinds of financial effects are important enough to trigger a conflict of interest. These rules are called “materiality standards,” that is, they are the standards that should be used for judging what kind of financial impacts resulting from governmental decisions are considered material or important.

There are too many materiality standards to adequately review all of them here. To determine the applicable materiality standard, or to obtain more detailed information on conflicts, an official may seek assistance from agency counsel or the FPPC anytime the official has reason to believe a decision may have a financial impact or effect on his or her personal finances or other financial interests.

Exceptions

Not all conflicts of interest prevent a public official from lawfully taking part in the government decision. There are two limited exceptions to the conflict of interest rules:

  • The Public Generally Exception. A public official is not disqualified from a decision if the effect on the official’s interests is indistinguishable from the effect on the public.
  • Legally Required to Participate. In certain rare circumstances, a public official may be randomly selected to take part in a decision if a quorum cannot be reached because too many officials are disqualified under the Act.

Exceptions must be considered with care. A public official should contact agency counsel or the FPPC to determine if an exception applies.

Recusal Requirements

An official with a disqualifying conflict of interest may not make, participate in making, or use his or her position to influence a governmental decision. When appearing before his or her own agency or an agency subject to the authority or budgetary control of his or her agency, an official is making, participating in making, or using his or her position to influence a decision any time the official takes any action to influence the decision including directing a decision, voting, providing information or a recommendation, or contacting or appearing before any other agency official. When appearing before any other agency, the official must not act or purport to act in his or her official capacity or on behalf of his or her agency.

Certain officials (including city council members, planning commissioners, and members of the boards of supervisors) have a mandated manner in which they must disqualify from decisions made at a public meeting (including closed session decisions) and must publicly identify a conflict of interest and leave the room before the item is discussed.

While there are limited exceptions that allow a public official to participate as a member of the public and speak to the press, the exceptions are interpreted narrowly and may require advice from your agency’s counsel or the FPPC.”

The following questions were emailed Wednesday morning to both Wilson and City Attorney Smith asking “Monica, which disqualifying financial interest did you have to cause you to recuse yourself from voting on the​ Fuel cannabis retail business proposed for G Street, last night?

Do you own a financial interest in the business? Do you own a financial interest in the​ building where it was to be located? Does someone in your immediate family work for Mr. McCauley’s proposed cannabis business or any of his businesses? Was it because Sean McCauley allowed you to hold a campaign event at his property on Deer Valley Road? If so, how is that a conflict of interest since there was no personal financial gain, only a benefit to your campaign?

Thomas, did you advise the councilwoman to recuse herself? If so, on what basis?”

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

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Antioch Council postpones tobacco product sales ban until Dec. 1, denies cannabis event at fairgrounds

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

Examples of flavored tobacco products that are still allowed to be sold in Antioch until December 1. Source: Youth Tobacco Advocacy Policy Project presentation

Approves four cannabis business operating agreements, purchase of 11 police vehicles and receiving $2.2 million in state funds for rehab of Nick Rodriguez Center

By Allen D. Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the Antioch City Council voted 3-1 to postpone a ban on sales of certain tobacco products until Dec. 1, with Mayor Lamar Thorpe voting no and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica absent. The council also approved operating agreements with four cannabis businesses and the purchase of 11 police vehicles in the 590-page agenda with 13 items including the Consent Calendar, which had its own 16 items. But the council denied approval of a cannabis event at the fairgrounds by CoCo Farms on a 2-1-1 vote.

Extends Grace Period for Ban on Sales of Certain Tobacco Products to Dec. 1

The tobacco products sales ban first went into effect on April 7. The council soon after faced a backlash from tobacco retailers in the city for both lack of notification and the ban, itself. The grace period will last until December 1, after a referendum on the statewide Nov. ballot can be voted on and decided. (See related article)

During public comments on the item, former Antioch Councilwoman Norma Hernandez, who along with her husband, Ralph, also a former council member, helped lead the effort on behalf of the tobacco retailers, thanked District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock for getting the matter reconsidered by the council.

The purpose of bringing this back, today was not to reconsider what we did, what we’re doing is extending the grace period,” Thorpe said. “I still support what we did. I was sympathetic and went and met with store owners. I was the one who brought it back. But I’m not going to change my position on what we did.”

He also spoke of the support by the tobacco industry for the coalition to repeal the statewide ban and the millions of dollars they’ve contributed to the effort.

“What we did was listen to our youth,” he continued. “Understand why we made the decision. I do support the grace period. But I am still where I’m at.”

“I do support the grace period,” Ogorchock stated, then made the motion to adopt it until Dec 1. After a long pause, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker seconded it. The motion passed on a 3-1 with Thorpe voting against.

Approves All Consent Calendar Items

The council voted to approve all but one of the 16 items on the Consent Calendar on a 4-0 vote, except for Item F which Ogorchock asked to have removed for a separate vote. That item was the second reading for the creation of the Antioch Police Oversight Commission which passed on a 3-1 vote during the last meeting when Ogorchock was absent and Barbanica voted no. It again, passed on a 3-1 vote with Ogorchock voting no, this time.

The other 15 items included establishing a Military Use Equipment Policy in compliance with Assembly Bill 481; the purchase of 11 police vehicles at a cost not to exceed $523,141.10; extending the contract with the city’s public information officer for another six months at a total of $288,000; and authorizing the filing of a project grant application through the California Natural Resources Agency for $2.2 million for the rehabilitation of the Nick Rodriguez Community Center. According to the staff report on the item, “In July 2021, staff were informed that the project was approved and that a total of $2,200,000 was awarded for the project.”

The council also approved the minutes for their meetings on April 12, 19 and 26 and May 10.

Forms New City Department

The council voted 3-1-1 to form the new Public Safety and Community Resources Department, with Ogorchock voting no. It will take five existing services from other departments and add two new services. (See related articles here and here)

“Environmental justice…housing…youth services…violence prevention is about public safety,” Torres-Walker stated in support of her proposed, new department.

“I’m certainly not creating change…the voters created the change you’re seeing, today, “Thorpe added.

Approves Operating Agreements with Five Cannabis Businesses

The council approved operating agreements with five cannabis businesses in the city including Delta Family Pharms, Inc. at the same location as the Delta Dispensary on W. 10th Street and owned by the same operators.

Ralph Hernandez spoke against the cannabis businesses saying it is still illegal under federal law and that the city shouldn’t partner with businesses that operate against federal law. He also said marijuana is an entry drug and that many prisoners started out with marijuana.

Hernandez spoke of the negative side effects of marijuana use, including paranoia and schizophrenia.

“One joint is equal to 20 cigarettes,” he stated.

“You all took an oath to uphold the law, both state and federal, but here, the city is approving violating federal law,” Hernandez said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Resident and local homeless advocate Andrew Becker spoke next, saying federal laws against marijuana allow the “incarceration of people for decades”.

“People can become addicted from MacDonald’s and end up as gamblers,” he stated. “It’s the system that breaks communities, not cannabis.”

“Let’s look at these opportunity programs that are coming from cannabis,” Becker added, referring to the city’s requirements that cannabis business donate a portion of their revenues to local non-profit organizations.

“I’m ecstatic that East County Justice Center is a beneficiary,” Ogorchock said. She also asked that the Bedford Center benefit from the business.

The council approved another cannabis business operating agreement for Delta Labs, owned by the same family, will be located at the same place but “in a different office, for manufacturing using non-volatile chemicals…taking the grown cannabis…and treating it for sale at a cannabis facility,” a city staff member stated.

Hernandez spoke again saying, ““I have personally seen the consequences of people using marijuana. They smoked marijuana, they get high, the crash vehicles. They do home invasion robberies.”

“This is not a candy…even though they put it in products to make it candy…brownies” he stated. “The consequences may not all be death or serious. I’ve seen the bodies I’ve seen the results. I have the photos that I took of people. I’ll show them to you if you want.”

“I don’t think you should approve it just so the city can get money from these people,” Hernandez added. “Don’t be sold by people who want to make money by giving you a carrot.”

Resident Brenda Barret said, “this is a drug culture country…and people are not going to stop getting high. So, government has taken a tack of if they’re going to get high, let’s make money off of it.”

“Maybe that money goes to pay our garbage bill,” she suggested. “If we’re going to get involved in drugs as a city, then everyone needs to benefit.”

“We’ve been doing this for three years, now,” Thorpe stated. “Councilwoman Wilson and I didn’t vote for Prop. 68 (which legalized recreational marijuana statewide). But we took the time to do our homework. When I saw the overwhelming support by Antioch voters, higher than the state…I think we came up with a good policy. It was based on listening to residents. We didn’t haphazardly get here. It was not about money.”

The council also approved operating agreements with KWMA Collective, located in the same building complex as Delta Dispensary but under different ownership and Bakery Antioch I, LLC located on W. 10th Street, to reflect the change in ownership from Cookies to Red Workshop.

Denies Approval of Cannabis Event at Fairgounds

On a surprise 2-1-1 vote, with Ogorchock voting no and Thorpe abstaining, the proposed cannabis event at the Contra Costa Event Center (fairgrounds) by CoCo Farms was denied. Thorpe had previously voted to move the proposed item forward and bring it back for a final vote which occurred Tuesday night. (See related article)

On Wednesday following the meeting, Thorpe was asked via email, “why did you vote to abstain on the cannabis event? Was it because you have invested in the CoCoFarms IPO? (The company is raising capitol through an initial public offering). If so, shouldn’t you have also recused yourself completely from the discussion, stepped down from the dais and left the council chambers during that agenda item? Or did CoCoFarms contribute to your anti-recall committee after March 31 and you were avoiding the appearance of a conflict of interest, even though there isn’t one legally for campaign contributions?” Thorpe’s anti-recall campaign committee Form 460 report doesn’t show a contribution from Contra Costa Farms, LLC, the legal name of the company.

Please check back later for the mayor’s responses or any other updates to this report.

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Antioch Council approves another marijuana business, then bans sales of certain tobacco products in city

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

Site of the approved Natural Supplements Cannabis Facility on Wilbur Avenue in Antioch. Source: City of Antioch

Also, extends distance from, clarifies limits on new tobacco retailers

“This is ridiculous to tell adults what they can put in their bodies” – Councilman Barbanica

By Allen D. Payton

During their Tuesday meeting on Feb. 22, 2022, on a 4-1 vote the Antioch City Council approved another marijuana business, this one growing, manufacturing, selling and delivering cannabis supplements. The council then voted to clarify thir xisting ban on additional tobacco retail businesses on a 5-0 vote and on a 3-2 vote approved a ban on the sale of certain tobacco products in the city.

Approve Natural Cannabis Supplement Business

The additional marijuana business will include growing, manufacturing, selling and delivering cannabis supplements. According to the city staff report, “The applicant proposes to operate a cannabis operations facility consisting of a Type 10 ‘Retail Storefront and Delivery’, a Type 11 ‘Distributor’, a Type 7 ‘Manufacturer’ and a Type 3A ‘Medium Indoor Cultivation’ license located at 2100-2300 Wilbur Avenue” which is currently an undeveloped dirt lot. Natural Supplements Cannabis Facility ACC022222

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock offered the lone opposition vote.

Extends Distance From, Clarifies Limits on New Tobacco Retailers

The council then voted unanimously to require new tobacco businesses to be at least 1,000 feet from schools and similar uses, such as public parks, playgrounds, recreational centers, or childcare centers. and clarified the city’s existing limits on new tobacco retailers in Antioch. Prior to the vote, the City’s municipal code required at least 500 feet between a business selling tobacco and a school or aforementioned uses. Distances & Limits on New Tobacco Retailers ACC022222

Ban Certain Tobacco Product Sales

In addition, on a 3-2 vote, with District 4 Councilman Barbanica and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker voting against, the council approved a ban on certain types of tobacco products in the city. According to the city staff report, the council approved the “Ordinance Amending Section 6-8.02 of the Antioch Municipal Code to Add the Definitions of Characterizing Flavor, Cigar, and Little Cigar (including Cigarillo) and Amending Section 6- 8.14 Both to Restrict Tobacco Retailers or Businesses from Selling or Providing Tobacco with Characterizing Flavor, Selling or Providing Electronic Cigarettes or E-Cigarettes, and To Regulate the Size and Price of Specified Packages of Cigarettes, Little Cigars, and Cigars.” Ban on Certain Tobacco Product Sales ACC022222

The proposed amendment would: Add the definition of “characterizing flavor”

Prohibit the sale of tobacco or tobacco products with characterizing flavor

Prohibit a tobacco retailer or business from selling, offering for sale, possessing with the intent to sell, offer in exchange for any form of consideration, or provide at no cost any electronic cigarette or e-cigarette for use with tobacco or tobacco products

Add the definitions of “cigars” and “little cigars,” with the latter including cigarillos

Prohibit a tobacco retailer or business from selling, offering for sale, possessing with the intent to sell, offering in exchange for any form of consideration, or providing at no cost any package of fewer than twenty little cigars, any package of fewer than six cigars and any package of cigarettes, little cigars or cigars at a price that is less than ten dollars per package, including applicable fees and taxes.

Speakers During Public Comments Opposed to Ban

Local retailers and an industry representative spoke against the ban encouraging the council instead wait for a vote on a statewide measure planned for the November ballot, so that there would be a level playing field should it pass.

Before the council vote, in opposing the ban Barbanica said, “it’s ridiculous to tell adults what they can put in their bodies.”

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Antioch Council directs staff to work on ordinance to allow cannabis events

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

The red highlighted area is the location of the Contra Costa Event Park (fairgrounds).

First one proposed for this summer at fairgrounds

“I know it will make Antioch a destination place” – Councilwoman Torres-Walker

By Allen Payton

During their meeting Tuesday night, a majority of the Antioch City Council members supported creating an ordinance to allow cannabis events in the city, including at the Contra Costa Event Park (county fairgrounds), in response to an application by CoCo Farms. They have a permit from the state to hold 10 events per year.

“This process came out of a need to answer that we can’t say no or yes to,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe explained. “This came as a result of a request of the state.”

During public comments J.R. Wilson said he was speaking on behalf of the Delta Veterans Group “in support…to allow temporary cannabis events.”

Longtime Antioch resident Tom Menasco also spoke in favor of the proposal.

“I would like to support and encourage you to do whatever it takes,” he said, mentioning benefits to the community, “Specifically taxation.”

“These are going to be money-making events,” Menasco stated. “In addition to that, non-profits will benefit from, when they do produce revenue, we will benefit. If we miss this opportunity Concord or someone else will take advantage of this.”

“It was our application to the state,” said Martin Wesley of CoCo Farms. “We’ve worked with the fairgrounds. It’s additional tax revenue and will bring additional people into Antioch. Security will be top of mind.”

“We have a state license to have 10 of these a year and we thought Antioch should be our first,” he added.

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson asked, “Can this go to the cannabis committee so we can properly vet this?”

Thorpe spoke of a timetable.

“For the future, we have a committee,” District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson pointed out.

“I know I support this. I support process, period,” said District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker. “I know it will make Antioch a destination place. We’re constantly talking about how to get more revenue and get more people to Antioch as a destination.”

“It’s not saying we’re opening the floodgates, and it will be a yes or no,” Barbanica said. “If it is a yes, then.

“What is the timeline,” Ogorchock said.

“I believe the applicant’s event is coming up,” City Attorney Thomas L. Smith said.

“420” people in the audience could be heard saying.

“The week of 420 (April 20th) is out of the cards, to do it right,” Wesley said. “The earliest we could do this is July or August.”

“We just did one in Santa Rosa and they sold 50,000 tickets,” he added.

“There’s time to go back to the Cannabis Committee,” Wilson said. “So, I ask that it go back.”

“City Attorney, there’s no time in the process?” she asked.

“I didn’t say that,” Smith responded. “Whatever the council directs.”

“It’s a discussion item. Did you get direction?” Thorpe asked Smith.

“I believe I have direction,” Smith responded.

“So, we can make the July timeframe,” Thorpe added.

Questions for City Attorney

Questions were sent Wednesday morning to City Attorney Smith asking, if the council is required to approve a cannabis event in the city and/or at the Contra Costa Event Park (fairgrounds). In addition, since Prop. 64 which legalizes recreational marijuana use in California gives councils the authority to deny any and all cannabis businesses in their city, he was asked if that also applies to cannabis events, as they would be commercial activities, with ticket sales and on-site cannabis sales.

According to the Local Government Reference Guide to Prop. 64, under “Land Use: Proposition 64 includes multiple local-control provisions that respect local government police powers to: ban commercial cannabis activity, and regulate businesses through local zoning and land-use requirements, and/or business license requirements within their respective jurisdiction by ordinance. However, no local jurisdiction may ban: the consumption of cannabis within its jurisdiction, the allowance of up to six plants for personal use, or the transportation of cannabis through the jurisdiction.”

Finally, Smith was asked if the state Department of Cannabis Control authorize a temporary cannabis event within the city, such as at a park, even if the council opposed it.

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Antioch Council to discuss allowing marijuana events at fairgrounds, parks Tuesday night

Monday, January 10th, 2022

Hundreds gather at a “420” pot smoking event in San Francisco. Photo from Facebook.

Torres-Walker’s idea may now be allowed in the city; would also allow retail sales at the events by licensed Antioch cannabis businesses

By Allen Payton

A passing comment by Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker during a recent council meeting to use the proposed Rivertown Center at the former Antioch Lumber Company site in downtown for a pot smoking event, has turned into an actual proposed change to the City’s municipal code to allow them.

During their meeting Tuesday night, Jan. 11, 2022, according to the staff report on agenda item 10, the Antioch City Council will “discuss amending the Antioch Municipal Code to add Section 9-5.3848 regarding temporary cannabis events on public property and provide direction to staff”. It would allow events like the one held in San Francisco every year on April 20th. 420 is another term for marijuana.

It “may generate increased revenue by allowing limited temporary cannabis events linked with retail sales by Antioch licensed cannabis businesses,” the staff report explains.

“One possible location for a temporary cannabis event is the Contra Costa County Fair (the “County Fair”), which is a District Agricultural Association site that holds fairs, expositions, and exhibitions to highlight various industries, enterprises, resources, and products of the state. The City could also approve other locations for an event to be held,” the staff report continues.

“The state Department of Cannabis Control (“Department”) has the discretion to authorize a temporary cannabis event. Only the holder of a temporary cannabis event license issued by the Department may hold a temporary cannabis event, which is subject to additional restrictions as a Type 14 cannabis license holder. Restrictions on a temporary cannabis event include limited duration and hours, Department approval of security, prohibition on sales of tobacco or alcohol at the event, restrictions on storage and marking of cannabis, track-and-trace regulations, and exclusion of minors.

Although the City may not have land use control over the County Fair, the Department of Cannabis Control requires approval by the applicable city or county for an event to be held on that type of public property.”

Attend or View Council Meeting

The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be held in-person in the Council Chambers at 200 H Street and are televised live on Comcast channel 24, AT&T U-verse channel 99, or live stream at www.antiochca.gov/government/city-council-meetings.

Public Comments

Members of the public wishing to provide public comment may do so one of the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar):

  1. Fill out an online speaker card by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting located at: https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card.
  2. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers

– You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting.

– When the mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand. When calling into the meeting using the Zoom Webinar telephone number, press *9 on your telephone keypad to “raise your hand”. Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.

  1. Email comments to cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting. The comment will be read into the record at the meeting (350 words maximum, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the mayor). IMPORTANT: Identify the agenda item in the subject line of your email if the comment is for Announcement of Community Events, Public Comment, or a specific agenda item number. No one may speak more than once on an agenda item or during “Public Comments”.

All emails received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting will be entered into the record or the meeting. Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak.

 

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Antioch Council extends redistricting process one month, approves another cannabis business, $285K for 15 homeless at Pittsburg site

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

Outgoing City Manager Ron Bernal with his wife, Irma (center) was honored by city council members, city clerk and city treasurer during his final council meeting in the position, Tuesday night Dec. 14, 2021. Photo by Kathy Cabrera

Appoints Barbanica the next mayor pro tem; honors outgoing city manager Ron Bernal; spends $60,000 on Chinatown history exhibit at Antioch Historical Society Museum; approves $145,000 for Antioch’s Sesquicentennial Celebration; approves minutes for past five meetings

Torres-Walker again doesn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, keeps her back to the American flag; Thorpe says Con Johnson started as interim city manager on Monday without any announcement he’s passed the background check

By Allen Payton

Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker won’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance during the city council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2021. Photo by Kathy Cabrera.

In response to the urging by members of the public and city council for more time for additional public comment and input, the Antioch City Council voted 3-0-1 to extend their redistricting process by one month until the end of February. During the very full agenda, for their final meeting of the year, the council also approved another cannabis business on W. 10th Street, spending about $285,000 to place 15 Antioch homeless residents in the soon to reopen Delta Landing site in Pittsburg, and $60,000 for a Chinatown exhibit inside the Antioch Historical Society Museum on W. 4th Street. In addition, the council voted to grant $145,000 to the Celebrate Antioch Foundation for next year’s Sesquicentennial celebration of Antioch’s 150th anniversary of cityhood.

In addition, the council honored outgoing City Manager Ron Bernal with a presentation for his five years in the position and 26 years total with the City of Antioch.

At the beginning of the meeting, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker again remained seated, with her back to the American flag during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Approve Minutes for Past Five Meetings

During the consent calendar, the council then approved the minutes from their regular and special meetings of Oct. 26, Nov. 2, Nov. 9, Nov. 16 and Nov. 23. At the meeting on Nov. 23 the council voted to postpone the approval of the minutes from the first four aforementioned meetings because they had not yet been prepared by the city clerk’s office. Minutes of the previous meeting are supposed to be prepared and included in the next meeting’s agenda. As of Wednesday evening, Dec. 15 the minutes for meetings since June 22 through Oct. 16 were finally on the council’s Agendas and Minutes page on the City’s website and the agenda for last night’s meeting is now on that page, although it wasn’t there as of yesterday, before the meeting began. The public was directed to the City’s calendar page to find them. (See related editorial)

Redistricting Presentation of 8 Alternative Maps, Process Extended

In response to a question by District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica about the redistricting deadline, Jane Hood of consultant Q2 Data and Research, who provided the presentation during the third of four scheduled public hearings, Tuesday night, the council has until April 17 to choose a final map of new district boundaries. The schedule was to conclude with a final vote on January 25 but both Barbanica and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock agreed with those who spoke during public comments that residents and the council needed more time. Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson was absent for the presentation and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker who made no comments during the discussion voted to abstain on the motion to extend the process, without explanation.

All eight maps were presented to the council, including the three created by Q2 staff and the five submitted by the public. (See related article)

Two members of the public urged the council to approve Map B. Ogorchock, who expressed her displeasure with that option, asked Hood to make some changes to Map C between Districts 3 and 4 on the east end of Antioch north of Lone Tree Way. But the modifications resulted in District 3 having too high of a population percentage deviation greater than 5% from average, which is the legal limit, and District 4 with too small of a population, also greater than the 5% deviation from average. So, Ogorchock abandoned the effort.

Thorpe said all eight maps would be brought back for consideration at the next public hearing on redistricting on January 11.

Unanimously Approve Cannabis Cultivation Facility

The council, on a 5-0 vote, approved the application by KWMA Collective, LLC to operate a cannabis cultivation facility at 2101 W. 10th Street in the same building that houses both the Delta Dispensary and the recently approved Delta Labs. (See related articleKWMA Collective cannabis biz ACC121421

Approve Funds for Transitional Housing for 15 Antioch Unhoused Residents

The council on a 5-0 vote also approved spending $284,700 to place 15 unhoused Antioch residents at the new Delta Landing Interim Housing site in Pittsburg, which is estimated to re-open its doors within 30 days. The action was in response to the recommendation by the Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Unhoused Residents made up of Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Councilman Barbanica, earlier this month. (See related article)

According to the City staff report the funds will be spent “for a duration of 12 months; to be drawn from the current General Fund budget balance of previously earmarked funds to address unhoused resident needs.”

In addition, the staff report explains, “As part of ongoing dialogue between the City and County, a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) has been developed that provides access to City initiated, CORE (the county’s Coordinated Outreach Referral, Engagement program) approved referrals for a maximum of 15 bed nights at any one time over a period of one year. The cost to the City is $52/night when City referrals are placed and beds are utilized. Wrap around support services include benefit assistance, medical services, behavioral health services, as well as case management, housing navigation and rapid rehousing assistance.”

“The timing for securing potential space through a formal agreement is immediate should the City wish to exercise bed options upon facility re-opening,” the staff report continues. “It is a rare and unique window to have access to a total of 15 new City referred, CORE approved placements at one time.”

Barbanica moved approval of the expenditure and MOU and it was approved on a 5-0 vote.

Approves $145,000 for Antioch’s Sesquicentennial Celebration

During the consent calendar, the council approved spending $145,000 for the Celebrate Antioch Foundation to put on events for next year’s Sesquicentennial celebration of Antioch’s 150th anniversary of cityhood. According to the City staff report, the Celebrate Antioch Foundation is also committing to raising $56,500 to be used toward Sesquicentennial Events. A variety of events and activities are planned throughout the community, beginning on Feb. 6 the day the City was incorporated in 1872.  Sesquicentennial CAF Budget ACC121421

Council Spends $60,000 on Chinatown Historical Exhibit

Earlier in the meeting, the council, on a 5-0 vote, agreed to spend $60,000 on a contract with the same San Francisco-based firm that developed the new City logo, ad campaign “Opportunity Lives Here” and the Rivertown Dining District logo, to create a new Chinatown exhibit inside the Antioch Historical Society Museum. Antioch’s Chinatown was burned down in 1876. In June, during the signing ceremony by the council of a resolution apologizing for that tragedy and the racism against Chinese immigrants in the late 1800’s, the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) Foundation agreed to donate $10,000 for the exhibit. (See related article)

Appoints Barbanica City’s New Mayor Pro Tem

During the 15th and final agenda item of the council meeting, City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith said, “According to the ordinance in our municipal code passed by city council, we have a rotation of the guard. It’s more of a formality because it’s already outlined in the municipal code.” (See related article)

Without discussion or public comment Ogorchock made the motion “to appoint Mike Barbanica as our next mayor pro tem”. Torre-Walker seconded the motion. It passed on a 5-0 vote.

“Are you ready for this? You may have to call a press conference from time to time, visit a crime scene,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe joked.

Barbanica replaces Wilson in the position who held it this year, having gained the highest percentage of votes of all four council members in last November’s election. The councilman garnered the second highest percentage of votes.

Bernal Offers Farewell

City Manager Ron Bernal will retire at the end of the month, briefly said at the end of his final meeting in the position, “I wanted to thank the council…for the past five years. It’s been a privilege and an honor.”

Thorpe Announces Interim City Manager Started Monday

“Welcome to our interim city manager who started on Monday, Mr. Con Johnson,” Thorpe added, then wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

No announcement had yet been offered by either the mayor or city staff that Johnson had successfully passed his background check. Questions were emailed Wednesday morning to the mayor, council members, and city staff asking about that. No response was received as of late Wednesday night.

The next regular Antioch City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022.

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