A vacant, former 11,000 square foot machine shop building in the shadow of the Port of Stockton could soon be the city's first marijuana cultivation site.
By a 5-2 margin the planning commission voted on Thursday night to move forward with issuing a user permit to a Bay Area marijuana grower, known as VG Enterprises.
The site is located in a heavy industrial zoned area on Navy Drive. However, business owners in close proximity to the proposed location are not happy.
"We're looking at it like, what is it going to bring to our area? And we think it is going to be a problem for our businesses.We don't know what to expect with the criminality is going to bring over. How many people are going to jump over the fence?," said Ben Tavakoli, owner of All Foreign & Domestic Body Shop, which will be next door to the proposed marijuana grow.
However, the applicant for the cannabis grow, which will be inside the facility, says crime will actually go down. He plans on having 24 hour roaming security.
"So the notion of putting a cannabis business there that is going to create this spur in crime is based in a lack of fact and based on historic marijuana hysteria. And it's because they don't understand what goes into a regulated facility like we're going to put in place," said Doug Chloupek, who applied for the permit and owns two other grows in San Jose and Hayward.
There is a 10-day window to appeal the planning commission's decision to the city council. Otherwise, the next step is for the applicant to get an operator's license.
Chloupek hopes to renovate the existing facility and have it operational by the first quarter of next year.