The East Bay city of Antioch is aiming to be the "cannabis capital of Northern California" with the approval of two major cannabis cultivation and distribution facilities.

On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council unanimously approved a use permit for San Francisco-based cannabis company Radix Growth to take over a former Kmart store that has been empty for three years. Radix Growth has plans to turn the 95,000 square-foot space on E. 18th Street into an indoor cultivation facility, distribution warehouse, delivery service, and retail dispensary.

As KPIX reports, the approval for this project comes after the city has already welcomed in Coco Farms, which has plans to build a 130,000 square-foot "indoor canopy for cultivation."

Both companies represent new jobs in the city, and a wealth of future sales tax revenue.

As the Mercury News reports, Hans Benson, representing Radix Growth, told the city council that he plans "to work closely with the city, in being able to develop somewhat of a program that will benefit not only the community but also the industry as well."

"I don’t mind being known as the cannabis capital of Northern California because it’s increasing the quality of life of those in Antioch and providing economic opportunity for residents and folks in eastern Contra Costa County," says Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, speaking to KPIX.

Thorpe says he's grateful to the cannabis industry for making up for some of the sales tax revenue lost during the pandemic.

"We owe a debt to the cannabis industry for saving people’s jobs and making sure economic growth continued through our city," he says.

Antioch may have some catching up to do to become the "cannabis capital" of the region, given that the cities of San Francisco and Oakland have been hubs of legal cannabis cultivation and retail sales for two decades now. (Not to say anything of Humboldt County, which has long been a cannabis capital of sorts, both legal and illegal.) And Sonoma County is quickly gaining ground as a cannabis-friendly place as well, having issued 184 cannabis cultivation permits since 2017.

But with all that growth comes pushback from the community, with a recent ordinance to further streamline the permitting process and open up more land for cannabis cultivation getting tabled by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors last month. As the North Bay Business Journal reported, many farmers of other crops and rural residents have complained that cannabis produces too much odor and its cultivation requires too much water, and the supervisors are now going to commission a study on the issue.

Photo: Richard T./Unsplash