Planning Commission weighs in on two new cannabis development agreements


During their meeting on Oct. 24, the City of Colusa’s planning commission recommended that the city council approve a development agreement for another cannabis business in town, and passed a second along to the city council without a recommendation.

The planning commission voted to recommend that the council approve a development agreement with Sticky Trees for the potential operation of an online, non-storefront retail sale cannabis business at 2967 Davison Drive, located within Colusa Industrial Properties, next door to the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce. 

According to City Manager Jesse Cain, Sticky Trees will operate in a manner similar to one of the cannabis companies currently operating in Colusa. 

“It’s real similar to Big Moon Sky,” Cain said. “The only difference is Big Moon Sky actually has their own website and their own product. (Sticky Trees) does not have a website with their name on the product. They sell other people’s product.”

Sticky Trees will not do any sort of processing at the facility. As with Big Moon Sky, Sticky Trees will not be allowed to sell to anyone in Colusa County, Cain said.

Kodi Pine, the owner of Sticky Trees, said that the company is a retail delivery service that will only deliver to jurisdictions that allow for commercial cannabis delivery – such as Butte County. He said that he anticipates the company will have two drivers, who will make between seven and ten trips in and out of the facility on a given day. Pine said that, with a 3 percent share of gross revenues, he anticipated that the city stands to make about $21,000 per year through Sticky Trees. Commissioner Brendan Farrell made the motion to recommend approval of the development agreement with Sticky Trees.

“My opinion is that, number one, these shall be permitted in the city of colusa, so we need a very good reason (to recommend denial),” Farrell said. “…Based on what I’ve seen from Big Moon Sky, these types of businesses are very low impact on the surrounding area. I don’t see any odor issue… I understand that we don’t maybe want too many marijuana businesses. But at the same time, it’s filling a vacancy and someone is getting rent off of it. We’re getting some revenue off of it, and I don’t think vacant buildings are good, either.”

Commissioner Richard Selover seconded the motion, which carried 4-1. George Parker, who has been the most vocal opponent of cannabis projects on the commission, was absent.

The second development agreement up for the commission’s consideration – this one between the city and Colusa Specialty Farming – was moved forward to the city council without a planning commission recommendation, citing jurisdictional grounds.

Colusa Specialty Farming is proposing to develop a cannabis manufacturing facility, which would also be located in the Colusa Industrial Park, in an already-constructed building that will soon be without tenants. The proposed cannabis project is attached to another project – a biomass-to-electricity facility.

“BC&E Energy Company leased four acres of property right next to that building… They are on contract to build about a 20,000 sq. ft. facility (there),” Colusa Industrial Properties CEO Ed Hulbert told the commission. “In the time that was being negotiated, that building became available.”

Hulbert said that the “huge amount of electric service” to the existing building made it attractive to BC&E Energy, but that the building is larger than what the company requires. As a result, BC&E intends to buy the property and sublease a ‘clean room’ in the middle of the building to Colusa Specialty Farming for cannabis manufacturing.

“That’s where the cannabis component comes in,” Hulbert said. “Subletting to the cannabis company makes their whole economics work.”

The only problem with the proposed location is that it currently falls under the jurisdiction of the county, which has a ban on all commercial cannabis operations. While Hulbert said that the city, county, and Colusa Industrial Properties are currently working together to annex the entirety of the Industrial Park into the city, that process will take at least a year. In the interim, the city’s hope is that the county will enter into an agreement to give the city land use authority over the Industrial Park until the annexation process is complete, allowing for commercial cannabis uses on the property.

Hulbert said that there is some financial incentive for the county to move forward with the land use agreement. The county is owed some $350,000 in USDA loan repayment money from the previous occupant of the ‘clean room’ of the building, AdvancedPVA, Hulbert said.

“The county has a debt on that, and there’s a chance the county can get their debt paid off, and then this operation would be able to use the clean room as part of the facility,” Hulbert said. “It’s not a perfect fit, but there’s some value for them to move on this temporary agreement… What the agreement is, is an overlay, basically, that says for the short period of time that we work on the annexation, the city is going to overlay, as far as the land use goes, that would allow this business.”

As a whole, the commission did not believe they had the authority to recommend approval of the development agreement without already having an agreement with the county in place, and asked that the item be forwarded to the city council without a planning commission recommendation. 

Public hearings related to both development agreements are scheduled for the city council’s Nov. 20 meeting. ■

Brian Pearson is the former Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects included reporting local government and the sports page.