Could more than 470,000 square feet worth of cannabis be coming to within a stone’s throw of Lathrop’s northern border?
That’ll be up to San Joaquin County to decide.
According to a document from the San Joaquin County Community Development Department, the agency has received a special purpose plan application to construct 16 buildings measuring 19,500-square-feet each off Freewert Road that would used for the cultivation of recreational cannabis.
The property is located in county jurisdiction just outside of Lathrop’s city limits.
Four additional buildings measuring 30,160-square-feet each are also part of the proposal, as are an additional pair of 19,500-square-foot buildings that would be used to process the cannabis once it reaches full maturity – bringing the total square footage of the complex up to just over 470,000-square-feet.
That’s roughly 3½ times the floorspace as the Manteca Costco store.
Located on a parcel at 1410 Freewert Road, the site – if approved as proposed – would operate from 4:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week and would be served by a private water connection and an on-site storm water retention pond. An existing septic system would be expanded according to the proposal.
While the document lists En Quon He as the owner and the He Development Corporation as the applicant seeking the county’s approval, the property was at one time owned by San Joaquin County elected official Monte McFall – who was central to the corruption case involving county officials including former Sheriff Baxter Dunn over extortion claims centering on a failed power generating plant at the Port of Stockton.
McFall was ordered to serve six-and-a-half years in prison for his role in the scandal – the initial 10-year sentence was trimmed down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals – and walked out of federal custody in Arkansas in 2010. He filed a lawsuit against San Joaquin County in 2016 after his home on Freewert Road – where was initially arrested by FBI agents nearly 20 years prior – was raided by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion that he was cultivating cannabis.
The property includes a main home that is surrounded by 270-degrees of water and is located just before the bend in the road that leads to the Rich Hogan’s Haven Acres Bar and Grill.
While Lathrop at one time took a hardline stance against the cultivation of medicinal or recreational cannabis, the city softened that position in the face of California’s changing legal landscape surrounding the controversial substance – which is once again in the news following the announcement this week that the federal government may look at rescheduling cannabis out of the category reserved for drugs with no known medicinal qualities or benefits.
Over the years, cities throughout San Joaquin County – including Lathrop and Manteca – have been the home of illegal cannabis growing operations often located inside of rented houses or homes purchased specifically for that purpose. In some instances, houses were gutted and retrofitted specifically to cultivate illegal cannabis – which at times impacted the structural integrity of the home, and often included unpermitted work on the electrical system that posed significant health and public safety concerns.
Cultivation for California’s heavily regulated recreational market, however, is markedly different. In order to comply with state regulations, flower-producing plants are tracked from seed to sale to ensure that illegal, black market cannabis is not flowing into the existing recreational supply and being sold over dispensary counters to consumers.
Lathrop residents will get the chance to voice their prospective concerns prior to the San Joaquin County Planning Commission deciding on the proposal. According to the document outlining the details of the project, residents will have until Tuesday, Oct. 11 to offer input that will considered as part of the staff’s analysis prior to making a recommendation to the commission. Additional information about the San Joaquin County Community Development Department can be found by visiting https://www.sjgov.org/commdev.
To contact Bulletin reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.