By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
WOODLAKE – While the City and City Council might be ready to move forward with commercial cannabis in the Woodlake city limits some residents have their concerns.
Last week the City Council voted 3-1 in favor of issuing Green Bean Pharm, and a second cannabis dispensary titled only CCW LLC, regulatory permits. They still have to go through site plan review phases in addition to gathering a host of licenses, but Green Bean Pharm’s proposed location at 515 W. Naranjo Boulevard has created some consternation.
Woodlake city staff said that putting cannabis dispensaries in downtown or other well lit places where people often travel reduces the likelihood of crime, and it is a centralized location for law enforcement to respond to quickly. City administrator Ramon Lara said that it has worked well for other cities in states where there is commercial cannabis. But Green Bean Pharm is not in downtown; instead it is closer to the outskirts of town.
Pastor of Woodlake’s Presbyterian Church John Dennis raised his concerns over Green Bean Pharm’s location as it would be across the street from the church. Dennis said that one of the most notable replies to a City issued survey over whether commercial cannabis should be allowed, prior to last month’s election, was it should be located far away from children.
Dennis said that he is not particularly opposed to cannabis use and sales but he informed the Council his church runs an afterschool program of about 70-80 kids. The area is not well lit and there is little foot traffic that reaches that portion of town. As well, it is not a centralized location near law enforcement which contradicts the staff’s intentions regarding placement. Dennis also noted that the church holds alcoholics and narcotics anonymous meetings and