Large cannabis cultivation, delivery facility OK’d for north Sacramento

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Budtender Danny Cress gives a crash course in recreational marijuana, legal in California as of Jan. 1.
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Budtender Danny Cress gives a crash course in recreational marijuana, legal in California as of Jan. 1.

The Sacramento City Council cleared the way Tuesday for a large cannabis cultivation and delivery business to open in a north Sacramento warehouse.

The business, called Dragon’s Lair, plans to open in the coming months in a warehouse at the southwest corner of Iris Avenue and Plover Street in the Ben Ali neighborhood.

The 21,596-square-foot facility, which now houses an auto repair shop, will mostly be used for cultivation, but it will also include areas for manufacturing, packaging, distribution and six suites for delivery-only medical and recreational cannabis, according to a city staff report. The council approved the plan with an 8-0 vote, with Mayor Darrell Steinberg absent.

The scale of the plan initially caused concern for Councilman Allen Warren, who represents the area.

“This level of intensity inside one building could be harmful to the residents who live across the street and within the Ben Ali neighborhood,” a Sept. 13 letter from Warren’s office to planning director Tom Pace read.

The city’s Planning and Design Commission approved the facility in August, but then Warren sent it to the council for another vote before it was approved.

Since sending the letter, city staff addressed Warren’s concerns, he told The Bee.

“We needed to work on the security plan, which we’ve done now,” Warren said.

Also, Warren learned there are other cannabis facilities in other areas of the city of this scale, with multiple businesses in one building, which eased his concern, he said.

“The city has analyzed this type of business model before,” he said.

He also learned the facility would have armed security 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which helped him to be more comfortable, he said.

Each operator at the facility will need to get a city business permit, which requires annual reporting and licensing, the staff report said. The business will also have daily litter removal and exterior lighting.

The site is within 300 feet of residences, which is the reason it required Planning and Design Commission approval.

The Ben Ali Community Association and three nearby property owners wrote letters raising concerns that the facility will increase crime and will exacerbate cleanup efforts the neighborhood has made.

There is one cannabis cultivation facility a half mile from the new one — near the corner of Frienza Avenue and Auburn Boulevard — but still, the new site will not result in an “undue concentration of cultivation establishments,” the staff report said.

The facility plans to operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, but will not have customers visiting the site like a dispensary would.

Businesses within the facility will likely be opening in the next couple of months, but it will likely be another six to nine months before all the businesses are up and running, said Joe Devlin, the city’s chief of cannabis policy and enforcement.