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December 11, 2018
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Cotati allows second dispensary

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
November 16, 2018

There’s a new cannabis outlet coming to the town of Cotati thanks to a permit issued by the Cotati City Council in its open session Tuesday.

The two-year permit went to Indythree LLC, a local developer that owns the Alder Ave property, now abandoned, in western Cotati. They plan to tear down the current structures on the parcel and put up three new buildings: a memory care facility, an assisted living facility and the commercial cannabis outlet.

“I know for a few people that this is something to which they’ll be uncomfortable and I totally respect that. But in terms of this being something that is essentially accepted, I see it as part of the future of Sonoma County,” Cotati Mayor, Mark Landman, said. “Like fine wine, good food, craft beer, I think the cannabis industry has the potential to be like that.”

At present, Cotati places a 3 percent tax on commercial cannabis sales, which is then added to the state’s own 15 percent tax. That’s a lot of potential money that could be coming into the town in the next couple years, especially when taken with the already up and running cannabis outlet, Mercy Wellness, on the other side of town.

The potential tax income played a huge factor into Landman’s vote to approve the permit.

“One of the most important things, post prop-13, for any city is how we fund the municipality. There still isn’t a good answer. One of the best ways is diversifying your sources of income,” Landman said. “These are the types of things that can keep a community healthy.”

Surprisingly, there was little public disagreement surrounding the Indythree development. Nobody who attended the city council meeting voiced any opposition, in fact. That’s a far cry to the events of eight years ago when 50 members of the Cavalry Life Church protested the town’s first medical cannabis permit issued to Mercy Wellness.

But that permit went through and the church has since moved out of Cotati to their new property in Rohnert Park. With the recent change to California’s cannabis law, the public’s attitude has shifted on the subject of marijuana.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of surveyed Americans favor the legalization of cannabis. That’s a huge jump over what it was back at the turn of millennium when only 31 percent of Americans approved of legalization. Since then, marijuana has gone from a source of fear to a potential money-maker with 9.2 billion dollars of revenue in 2017, according to Arcview Market Research.

That’s rather surprising given that cannabis is still technically illegal in the eyes of the United States federal government.

“It’s a big, significant development,” Steve Monahan, Indythree spokesperson, said. “We’re a real estate developer. It’s what we do. We’ve owned this property for a long time and we’ve been wanting to move forward this project for quite a while.”

The permit approved by Cotati is for a two-year time period and will be up for renewal again in 2020.