Two cannabis dispensaries move forward with Guadalupe City Council support

With plans to bring two new cannabis shops to downtown Guadalupe, two separate retailers recently entered into similar agreements with the city.

Public hearings for both projects, Root One and Element 7, were held back-to-back during the Guadalupe City Council’s Sept. 12 meeting. As part of their applications, each retailer was required to outline “the community benefits it was willing to offer the city,” according to the staff report.

Examples of the city’s suggested conditions for commercial cannabis businesses to uphold include maintaining public outreach and education efforts, participating in community service projects, and providing resources that help “promote the public health, safety, and welfare of the city and its residents.”

The requirement for cannabis businesses to enter into a community benefit agreement—drafted on a case-by-case basis, unique to its respective project—with Guadalupe is part of the city’s cannabis ordinance, adopted in May 2021.

Austen Connella and Adam Laurent of SLOCAL Management, the LLC behind Root One, attended the City Council’s Sept. 12 meeting to discuss their project and some aspects of its community benefit agreement. 

“The profits generated from Root One will be reinvested into the community, reigniting further economic growth,” Connella said. “It’s our mission to bring positive change to the city and to help revitalize the business district. … Our goal is to bring more businesses to Guadalupe by creating a thriving economic ecosystem.”

Root One was the subject of two resolutions up for adoption during the meeting; one to obtain a conditional use permit and the other to enter into its community benefits agreement with the city. Both resolutions were adopted 4-0 (Councilmember Eugene Costa Jr. was absent).

As part of its approved agreement, Root One will be subject to a “public benefit fee” of 6 percent on the gross receipts of all retail cannabis sales. According to the staff report, the fee will be dropped if the city implements a voter-approved cannabis tax in the future.

The applicants behind Root One also agreed to donate $4,000 a month during its first year of business to a designated nonprofit that serves Guadalupe. Other terms in the agreement will require the dispensary to source at least 75 percent of its employee base from residents within a 15-mile radius of the business and provide two $2,000 scholarships annually for graduating low-income Guadalupe High School students seeking higher education.

The community benefit agreement terms pitched by Element 7, which was granted a conditional use permit in June, were also approved by the Guadalupe City Council with a 4-0 vote during its Sept. 12 meeting.

Conditions of the Element 7 agreement will require the retailer to pay a public benefit fee of 4 percent of all sales to the city and donate at least $50,000 annually to local nonprofits and at least $5,000 annually to programs that specifically deal with homelessness issues in Guadalupe, according to the staff report.

Councilmember Megan Lizalde complimented the conditions included in the community benefit agreements proposed by both Element 7 and Root One, describing both as striving to “really fit the needs of our community.”

The full lists of terms in both community benefit agreements are available to view online at ci.guadalupe.ca.us

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