The City of Antioch recently adopted an ordinance approving unrestricted Cannabis businesses within two zones within the City. The action was not well thought out, and our City is not prepared, nor are we the right community for this type of business.
We are not prepared from a public safety standpoint to manage the risks of having unrestricted cannabis businesses in Antioch. The Chief of Police recommended against approval because of the associated crime that this type of business is known to attract. The high concentration of cash and the presence of large amounts of marijuana are a huge temptation for violent criminal elements, crime we don’t need in Antioch. We have finally started to hire additional police officers, and with the violent potential robberies that have accompanied cannabis businesses in other communities, this is not a risk worth taking.
City council recently committed to hiring a public relations firm and an Economic Development director to not only improve the image of Antioch, but to attract large employer, tax revenue generating enterprises to Antioch. Are cannabis businesses really the type of business that will accomplish these 2 goals? Is this the best we can do? Are we a community that really believes this is a meaningful, productive and a positive type of business? What is the vision of our leaders? Do they have one? We as a community deserve better. We can do better.
The proposed cannabis zones lie within 2 problematic areas. The first zone lies within proximity of the city’s 2 largest tax revenue generators: the auto center mall and Costco. Don’t we want these businesses to be prioritized from a business safety standpoint? How about people spending their money within these 2 areas, shouldn’t they be safe? Do we want these enterprises to expand? Or, do we want them leaving Antioch because we were shortsighted and allowed legalized drug enterprises in their backyards? We deserve an economic development strategy that looks to expansion and encouraging people to continue to patronize the areas. The impact of other businesses in the area hasn’t been explored either. Without an integrated economic development strategy, we are a community not prepared for allowing a great unknown such as cannabis into our community.
Don’t we deserve a large job center in Antioch? High paying good jobs that will allow people to live and work locally? Why locate an unrestricted marijuana zone within an area that has the potential of providing high paying jobs and local employment? The second proposed area lies along Wilbur avenue, east to highway 160. This is a zone that had been designated for assembly, light manufacturing and commerce, given its proximity to heavy rail and a deep water entry point at Fulton Shipyard. We deserve much better than a cannabis zone located here, or anywhere in Antioch.
We are not prepared to tax cannabis at this point. The hasty decision to approve unrestricted cannabis businesses in Antioch does not include any taxation considerations. How will pot purchases be taxed? At what rate? Will the City actually get to keep the revenue, or will it be siphoned off by county and state authorities? Don’t we deserve a more comprehensive strategy to address the tax impacts?
Antioch is not prepared to allow cannabis businesses to operate within the city limits. Much more structure and clarity needs to be determined. Proposition 64 passage ensured the legalization of marijuana, but a practical look at the issues leads one to the conclusion that Antioch is not the right community for this type of business.
Join us in rejecting the council’s shortsighted decision and sign the Not In Antioch petition. You can find more information about signature gathering locations and how to get involved at www.facebook.com/NotInAntioch.
Let’s build an image of Antioch we can all support, a community with the right mix of positive images we can all be proud to call home.
Manny Soliz, Jr.
Editors Notes: The group now has 30-days to collect signatures where they need 10% of the registered voters in the City of Antioch.