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Council cub-committee leans toward allowing 3; mayor believes 6 or 7 dispensaries are in order
pot dispensary
A counter inside a storefront marijuana dispensary.

There may be storefront marijuana sales in Manteca during 2022.

The City Council Tuesday outlined what could be the final road map to make such sales legal.

Assuming the timeline goes forward without a hitch and secures approval at the council level on Dec. 7 and Dec. 21, storefront marijuana dispensaries would be legal in mid-January.

Realistically it will take a number of additional months to get procedures in place and then to review applications. After that the firms awarded permits will need to get up and running.

It is clear that there is a council majority leaning toward approving an enabling ordinance in some form.

That’s because on Tuesday retired police chief and current Councilman Charlie Halford who has said he’s been sitting on the fence and needed a lot of convincing, made a point of noting a clear majority of Manteca voters have shown their support for storefront marijuana sales. Both the state measure Proposition 64 and the county’s Measure X on the subject passed within Manteca.

Halford has also participated in several of the council tours of three legal dispensaries in Modesto and one in Riverbank to see how they operate and comply with rigid requirements.

Halford noted he has no intention of patronizing a marijuana dispensary nor does Mayor Ben Cantu.

Halford, though, emphasized that based on previous election results, it was clear the majority of Manteca voters supported it.

Cantu views it in the context of tax revenue Manteca is losing out on by forcing people to visit legal dispensaries in nearby cities. Cantu, during his campaign for office as well as at the start of the council subcommittee process that includes council members Gary Singh and Jose Nuño, noted that he was voting in favor of legalizing store front sales.

Singh has always leaned in favor of legal sales providing it is done right while Nuño wanted to hear public input first.

Breitenbucher has been the only council member adamantly against the proposition.

Staff will now draft an ordinance based on research and input they along with the council subcommittee secured from other jurisdictions that have already allowed commercial pot sales.

As outlined by the council subcommittee key points will likely include:

*allowing storefront sales in multiple zones.

*devising community benefit agreements that thoroughly cover protocols, reporting, and implementation.

*eschewing awarding permits by lottery to maintain maximum control.

*yearly permits requiring updated approvals.

*limiting the number of permits issued.

Nuño and Singh recommended having no more than three different dispensaries for at least the first two years.

Cantu, after hearing citizen comments Tuesday about lines outside of marijuana dispensaries in other cities as well as during his own inspection tours, believes the number of allowed dispensaries should be higher.

He suggested Manteca could start with six or seven locations.

“We don’t want to get into a Chick-fil-A situation,” Cantu said in referencing the fast food restaurant that at times turns parts of Northwoods and Yosemite Avenue and even the southbound Highway 99 off-ramp into de facto drive thru lanes.

The council will have a workshop on the proposed ordinance on Monday, Oct. 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

A planning commission workshop would take place on Thursday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. The commission two weeks later would make a recommendation on the ordinance that would go before the council on Dec. 7.

If it passes then and then passes a second time as required by law at the Dec. 21 meeting, the ordinance would legally go into effect in mid-January.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email