Marijuana sales almost a done deal in Manteca

Legal Modesto cannabis sellers will soon be taking a hit.

That’s because Manteca leaders are poised to take the final action on Tuesday to legalize storefront marijuana sales in The Family City. In doing so, the big losers will likely be Modesto marijuana purveyors that have recorded sales to more than 7,000 individuals 21 years and older in the 95336 and 95337 Zip codes that cover the City of Manteca and the surrounding rural areas.

The council during Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting will conduct a second reading of the ordinance enabling retail marijuana sales. A second reading and vote is required before an ordinance can go into effect. If the ordinance is granted a second approval by the council marijuana sales would become legal by February in Manteca.

Practically speaking, it will be months after that before a retail storefront appears in Manteca due to the extensive vetting and permitting process.

Second readings of municipal ordinances rarely see a reversal from the first reading.

Other losers are those that believe easier access to marijuana will encourage even more use of cannabis products that have been legal for adults 21 and older to consume for recreational purposed for several years in California and therefore potentially create more — or exacerbating — issues related to the abuse and overconsumption of pot. Much of those concerns run the same gamut as they do with alcohol from impaired driving to addictive behavior

The big winners will be those concerns that successfully secure one of the three retail permits the city will issue as well as the City of Manteca itself.

The city is requiring each retail marijuana firm doing storefront business in Manteca to enter into community benefit agreements. That basically means the city will get a share of annual marijuana sale profits on top of its one cent share of the basic sales tax as well as a half cent public safety tax.

Based on similar agreements made by other jurisdictions, the city could secure up to 5 percent of retail marijuana profits that may be used to address public safety, drug prevention and drug awareness, homelessness, mental health and drug issues, code enforcement, and take on any related community impacts.

Other winners include law-abiding Manteca residents those that no longer have to travel to Modesto or other jurisdictions where such sales are legal. Nor do those with no means of travel to Modesto need to rely on what they say are spotty deliver service from out-of-town dispensaries that allows them little choice in examining the products before they purchase them.

There is also an expectation that some who buy pot on the black market will switch to legal marijuana that is tested extensively for the amount of THC levels and making sure there are no dangerous chemicals absorbed into products during the cultivation and processing.

At the same time, city officials aren’t harboring the illusion that the black market will take a big hit due to the pricing difference. Regulated and taxed marijuana costs what some users describe as “significantly more” than the black market.

Concerns that surfaced this week from the legal marijuana industry that it is “nearing collapse” financially won’t likely dampen the enthusiasm for firms to open in Manteca.

That’s because the marijuana trade group believes the more cities that allow legal sales will help push back on the black market that arguably is more extensive than legal storefront operations.

Also the solutions the trade group is advocating impacts the cultivation tax placed on growers as well as the excise tax both of which are imposed by the state.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email


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