City of Richmond looks to become major center for legal marijuana

The City of Richmond is looking to become a major center for legal marijuana growing and manufacturing.

Richmond has begun accepting applications for permits to grow or manufacture medical marijuana within city limits who meet strict guidelines.

Seven Stars is one of three medical marijuana dispensaries in Richmond.

Now the owners are hoping to get a city permit to also grow their own.

"The biggest advantage will be a stable product. If i have something that works for a patient today, i will be able to guarantee it will be available next month," said owner Joe Dayem.

Across town, laboratories at indigo therapeutics are expected to start manufacturing concentrated medical cannabis in  a few weeks, legally.

It is the first, and so far,  only business to receive a license under a new law in Richmond.

"We intend to make products for pain, for sleep and other medical uses. And if and when it becomes recreational we will be able to tap into that opportunity as well," said Joe Hawayek.

Inside city hall Wednesday afternoon, dozens of people planning on applying for a license attended a workshop. It focused on the nuances of keeping track of business taxes.

The city hopes to make at least a million dollars a year in sales taxes from medical marijuana.

"We’re like a lot of cities, worse than others, we need every nickel we can vacuum up," said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.

The city says about 25 businesses have taken out applications, but so far only two have completed them.
One medical marijuana dispensary owner is still filling hers out.

"It is hard to find a warehouse in the right zoning. They are hard to find right now," said Rebecca Vasquez.
Some in the industry say Richmond could one day become the Silicon Valley of marijuana.