This is the time period that could prevent Bloom Farms establishing a cannabis dispensary at Porterville.
The City of Porterville stated that Bloom Farms submitted its application six minutes late to the city. The deadline for the application was 4 pm on February 4. However, the city states that Bloom Farms did not submit its application to the city until 4:06 pm. The city denied Bloom Farms application.
Bloom Farms appealed the denial. An administrative hearing will be held at Tuesday’s Porterville City Council meeting to hear the appeal. The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. and will include oral communications. Then, the council will enter closed session. The council will return to open session at 6:30 pm.
Darin Garrett from Bloom Farms was present at a council meeting to ask the council to approve his application without him having to appeal.
Garrett stated that there shouldn’t be an appeal process and that the city should accept or reject applications. He maintained that the application was submitted within the deadline.
Garrett maintains that Bloom Farms shouldn’t have to submit an application and should be granted the cannabis dispensary.
The City Council granted two cannabis dispensaries, Haven and Cannabis Culture Club. These dispensaries are currently being established. These dispensaries are owned by local residents, but they also have Southern California ownership.
So, the City Council approved a third marijuana dispensary. “wholly-locally”Ownership of the dispensary requires that all persons involved in its ownership must be residents or have owned a business in Porterville Urban Boundary region for at least three consecutive years.
The city’s cannabis advisory committee recommended that the third dispensary be awarded one of the two locally-owned entities that submitted the first round of applications, Bloom Farms and the Tule River Economic Development Corporation. The Tule River has ceased to pursue a cannabis dispensary within the city.
Bloom Farms remains the only locally-owned business from the first round. Based on the recommendation of the ad-hoc panel, it should be granted the third cannabis dispensary. Garrett also threatened legal action against Bloom Farms if the dispensary is not awarded to them.
Maria Marrero (also from Bloom Farms) has also submitted a letter of appeal to the city.
Marrero writes in the letter that she “went to the same window as I did to submit the last RFP in 2020.”She also stated that she entered City Hall before 4 p.m.
“I made contact with a young man at the window. He directed to the side window as the prior year. I explained to him what it was, he acknowledged me and told me it needed to be sealed. I taped the box shut. He then turned to a young lady and asked what to do with it. She stated she was going to make a call because she didn’t know either (as you know time is ticking). She was then given information that we were at the wrong window. They gave me direction to go to the other end of the building.
“Arriving at the counter of Community Development we were received by a woman who knew we were sent there from the Finance Department window. Were we there, YES. You, Sire have acknowledged that we were in the building.”
The letter also stated that the appeal is required by the city “for six minutes before the box was marked accepted or denied.”The letter also adds the application “was not time stamped in front of us. We were not given a rejection, but it was received and accepted by a city employee.”
The city is still there. “city video documentation show Ms. Marrero entering the southeast entrance of City Hall by the Finance Department at 4:06 p.m.”The staff report even contains video, in which Marrero enters City Hall at 4 :06 p.m.
Jason Ridenour, Porterville City Community Development director, sent Garrett and Marrero also a letter confirming that their proposal was received at 4:16 p.m. adding that they would have to appeal the rejection of their proposal.
Garrett and Marrero also noted in their letter that they were one of two applicants who applied. They stated that the other applicant is from Woodlake, but not wholly-locally-owned.
The city staff recommended that Bloom Farms be denied as much as possible. “That the City Council consider the appeal and render a decision in accordance with the City’s procedures.”