Manteca’s elected leaders are expected to decide later this year whether they   will allow storefront marijuana sales.

City staff is developing an ordinance that could potentially allow such sales based on input from five community workshops as well as researching cities that have “done it right.”

One such city is Port Hueneme in Ventura County.

Manteca was supplied with a presentation by that city’s police department on the fiscal and environmental impacts of medicinal and adult use cannabis in Port Hueneme.

Port Hueneme — a coastal city slightly larger than Ripon with a population of 21,544 — has 7 retail   marijuana storefronts, 6 delivery operations, a cultivation operation, and 2 microbusinesses.

Those storefront operations front – or are just off of — a 5,280-foot stretch of Channel Boulevard and another two with a block hence “The Green Mile” reference.

They have a 14 section application process that touches on site control, physical plan and layout, business operations, qualification statement, safety plan, security plan, applicants’ credentials and resume, product safety and handling, neighborhood compatibility, community benefits, financial consideration, business acumen, and a background check.

A typical application costs $30,000 with roughly $12,325 of that being reoccurring annual fees.

There is a $10,000 application deposit, $445 owner background check, $4,411 conditional use permit fee. $2,365 annual business license based on $2.5 million in annual gross receipts, $201 certificate of occupancy, and $10,000 for an annual audit and review.

Port Hueneme mandates:

  • There are no after-hour gatherings such as social functions or events before opening or after close of business. Exceptions include sanctioned employee meetings, inventory, or pre-approved tours and inspections.
  • Regular employees are required to wear uniforms that are distinguishable from the public. This allows officers to readily identify employees during any type of critical incident or inspection.
  • No employee shall be under the influence of alcohol while on the premises. No employees shall be under the influence of marijuana as to cause noticeable impairment. Such impairment will be evaluated by a law enforcement drug recognition expert.
  • Security guards shall be in uniform and readily identifiable. No security guard shall be operating in an “undercover” capacity without prior notification to law enforcement. All security personnel shall be in possession of a state mandated guard card and relevant endorsements.
  • Employees and customers in the business shall take off all sunglasses, hat wear, hoodies, or any type of identification intrusion while in the business. Exceptions include religious headwear and patients undergoing special treatments which require a head dress.
  • A high definition video security system will be remotely accessible by the Chief of Police or his designee at all times. At   no time shall the business be open if the security system is down regardless of the presence of armed security guards.
  • If a persistent odor exists which extends beyond the boundaries of the business, the store has 24 hours to remedy the violation. After 24 hours, the location will be closed until the problem is fixed.
  • All first floor glass windows and doors need to be fortified with “bullet proof/break resistant glass” or shuttered with roll down doors during non-business hours, Bollards, planters or steel posts shall be placed in front of entry doors to prevent vehicle “smash and grabs”.
  • ”No loitering or soliciting” signs delineating state penal codes and city ordinances will be clearly displayed in and around premises including parking lots.
  • Power outages will result in temporary closure of the business until all systems including security cameras and alarm systems are back on-line.
  • All personnel will be “live-scanned” and undergo a thorough background investigation by the police department. Employees will not be authorized to work until an approval letter and badge has been issued by the police department.
  • All personnel must complete a “Responsible Cannabis Server” certification course within six months of employment.

The Port Hueneme Police Department recommends cities:

  • Place a cap on the number of cannabis businesses they plan to allow to open.
  • Assign an individual to take ownership of the cannabis process.
  • *Must make sure the police department is a key stakeholder and actively involved.
  • *Customize a cannabis plan that meets the needs of their community.

Disqualifications for ownership and works include a violent or serious felony conviction or convictions involving drug trafficking, fraud, deceit, or embezzlement.

There are 251 dispensary employees involved in strictly storefront operations. They had an average pay of $18 an hour and $38,000 a year.

The storefronts had 2,200 customers per day in July 2020 or 66,000 customers per month.

Of those customers 35 percent were between the ages of 21 and 30, 25 percent between the ages of 31 and 40, 14 percent between the ages of 41 and 50, 12 percent between the ages of 51 and 60, and 14 percent over 60. Only 10 percent were Port Hueneme residents.

The city in 2020 received $2.5 million in cannabis taxes while the businesses made $500,000 in community contributions.

Since 2018 there has been a 26 percent drop in crime and no homicides along with a 1 percent decrease in property crimes within “The Green Mile”.

There are no automatic renewable of permits and undercover minor decoy operations are conducted.