The Cannabis Gold Rush is ON! California City MMJ Round 2-HUGE
Cal City Manager Tom Weil answers citizens question while Round 2 applicants wait to speak at Town Hall Forum Central Park 7-13-17

The Cannabis Gold Rush is ON! California City MMJ Round 2-HUGE.

By Kane Wickham

California City- Last week the national media announced that for the first time Colorado topped $10 Million Dollars in Cannabis revenue IN ONE MONTH.

Last Thursday nights Town Hall meeting at the Arts and Community Building introduced the city to the latest batch of MMJ applicants from Round 2 of that process. In the first round, the city granted 32 applicants permits for everything from cultivation to manufacturing to transportation and distribution, etc.

This round there were 100 more applicants.

A staggering increase over the first round and certainly a sign of the times, the building was at near capacity simply to seat all the applicants and a good swath of the city’s residents. Many residents showed up to hear what the applicants had to say about their business plans, and pointedly how many jobs they planned to offer to local residents. Another question for many is what civic benefits the companies plan to enact here in Cal City to aid in the improvement of the city which all have said they seek to do.

City Manager Tom Weil (who has overseen the city’s entrance into the MMJ industry), hosted the forum in which the applicants representatives addressed the residents in sequence about those questions and more. The results are also staggering.

Many of the second round applicants are in fact also from the first round seeking to increase their licenses and scope of operations. All seek to get rich quick in the new ‘Gold Rush’ industry taking the U.S. by storm. Listening to their backgrounds, one quickly realizes that this is exactly like the gold rushes of times past. Many of the applicants come from unrelated backgrounds and are jumping into the new business seeking their fortunes. There are lawyers, real estate brokers, fund investors, construction workers, landscapers and more. One applicant owns an HVAC business which he moved to Cal City to seek his fortune in the Cannabis industry. It truly IS the new Gold Rush, and just as back them, the rush is on!

Some key points from that meeting include: The average hourly wage for jobs in this new industry is $22.50/Hr. or -double minimum wage! Pay rates that haven’t been seen since the construction boom of the 90’s. This round also posted the number of employees they will be seeking. Though harder to track than the first round of 32, the total adds up to hundreds more jobs. The applicants themselves noted that they will likely have to also seek workers from outside Cal City simply to find enough folks to do the work. Mayor Jennifer Wood stated that a Job Fair is scheduled for some time in August here in Cal City to get things started, with another later in the year. The dates will be posted in advance of the Fair, and all seeking employment are encouraged to attend. All applicants must be able to pass an FBI Livescan background check to be eligible for employment.

On the civic benefit side of the ledger, the latest applicants offered some unique ideas to improve Cal City. One seeks to bring a scoreboard to Rio Tinto field-Balsitis Park for our beloved Whiptails Pecos League Team. Many offered a new perspective of a collective investment pool of many companies put together with an annual investment into civic improvements. Still others pledged a flat 5% of their annual income to improve the city in whatever way is most needed.

City Finance Director Jeanie O’Laughlin pointed out recently, -just one applicant from the first round holds enough licenses to cover the cost of Public Safety alone. One of 32. Now we are looking at possibly 100 more providing they can all pass the FBI Livescan background checks. It takes little time to do the math on that and realize that Cal city is about to blow up big time. The estimated construction costs will be in the tens of millions alone as all these companies seek to not just get in, but to dominate the new Cannabis market as some openly stated during the forum.

As the new industry and city grow together we will see real estate prices go up in time as civic improvements bring into reality the place Cal City was envisioned to be. A Movie theater, bowling alley, renewed lake and waterfall and much, much more are now well within reach and very much a reality to come from the city’s wisdom in jumping on the Cannabis train.

Most of the applicants are seeking to beat the January 1 deadline to have their licenses ‘grandfathered’ in, alleviating them of state regulations to be instituted at the first of the year. This means that construction will be getting underway fast and furious all over Cal City. Already one can see such wonders in the open field that used to be the Matrix Buildings out past the airport. They have been gone for weeks now, a reminder of the bad old days of 2008 now a moniker of the bright future Cal City is so close to. Though we’ve a Tiger by the tail in many respects, all national indicators suggest it may be our lucky one.

One dark point on the sunny horizon that might slow things down a bit is not lack of water for this new agriculture industry, but rather POWER. Electricity. Given we are about to start a third round of applicants, City Works director Craig Platt has stated on multiple occasions that without having a solid number and size of operations ‘chart’ of sorts it is difficult to estimate how much electricity will be needed versus what the city can currently supply.

At a Town Hall last spring representatives from Socal Edison were on hand to answer questions. At that time many in the room heard them clearly say it will take 7 years to run us a new transmission line that can supply our needs into the future. A new sub-station in Cal City is also planned to receive that line. That is expected to begin construction by the end of this year and will be completed before the transmission line. Some very fine calculating will be needed to determine at what point we’re simply out of juice for now, as Socal Edison isn’t exactly the most accommodating company in California. Even so, simply with what we can supply for now we are looking pretty good in our new role as a Cannabis Colony-City of sorts.

And Round 3 is about to get underway.

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