ANTIOCH (KPIX 5) -- Antioch is one step closer to being what the mayor calls the cannabis capital of Northern California with plans to turn an old Kmart into a multi-faceted marijuana facility in east Contra Costa County.
The Antioch city council this week unanimously approved a use permit giving the project the green light to move forward, with the support of Mayor Lamar Thorpe, who credits the cannabis industry in Antioch for making up for lost sales tax revenue during the pandemic.
"We owe a debt to the cannabis industry for saving people's jobs and making sure economic growth continued through our city," said Thorpe
Antioch is already home to Coco Farms cannabis dispensary which can potentially become one of the largest facilities of its kind in the country once it builds out a planned 130,000 square-foot indoor canopy for cultivation.
A block south of Coco Farms, San Francisco-based Radix Growth plans to convert the former KMart which has been vacant since 2018, a 95,000 square-foot facility on E. 18th St. just west of State Route 160, into a facility that will house everything from an indoor cultivation area to a retail dispensary.
"It's not going to be just all up and running directly right away," said Radix Growth compliance consultant Sufyan Hamouda. "Distribution being first, then cultivation and retail being the last one."
"I know it's exciting and big news but there is a lot of work to do," said licensee Hans Benson.
The council on Tuesday unanimously approved the use permit, a variance, and design review application for the project in northeastern Antioch, one of the city's two designated overlay districts where such business is allowed.
The new cannabis business is expected to generate needed sales tax revenue, and an operating agreement yet to be decided will likely include additional revenue based on the business' sales, according to Forrest Ebbs, Community development director.
Thorpe said is excited about the potential benefits.
"I don't mind being known as the cannabis capital of Northern California because it's increasing the quality of life of those in Antioch and providing economic opportunity for residents and folks in eastern Contra Costa County.
The new business is expected to bring in about a hundred new jobs.
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