Woodlake, California - In the south Valley the very first recreational marijuana shop is getting ready to open next month. Construction is underway at the marijuana shop in Woodlake where city leaders plan to tax marijuana businesses and hold them to a high standard for safety. Valley Pure will sell recreational marijuana from its new store on Valencia Boulevard in downtown Woodlake.
In Woodlake people are preparing for a new chapter in the city's history. Soon, a vacant building in their downtown will become the very first recreational marijuana shop in the Valley.
A pot shop will soon be in the heart of downtown Woodlake California. In march, the construction area will be the home of "Valley Pure" the first recreational marijuana shop in the Valley.
"I think it will help the town a lot because as it is people are buying it off the street and at least now you'll be able to do it safer in a more reliable way," said Isaiah who grew up in Woodlake.
But in this small town of a little more 7,500 people, not everyone is convinced marijuana businesses are a good thing. Several parents I talked to didn't want to go on camera, but say they are concerned about the potential impact on their kids.
We spoke with Woodlake community services director jason waters about why Woodlake wants to lead the way in the Valley with recreational pot?
"We're a small community. We have a really tight budget and this is a chance for us to generate some revenue to do some good things," said Waters.
That revenue will be generated through taxes. Waters says city leaders have crafted an ordinance with strict restrictions on pot shops that will hold them to high standards, including a live surveillance feed to police headquarters.
"If at any point they break the rules the city can pull that regulatory permit and they would have to cease operations," said Waters.
Will Woodlake California now be a destination for marijuana in the Valley? Waters says he wouldn't be surprised.
"I imagine the dispensary will be busy, especially when it opens. It is yet to be seen, but I guess we will find out in about a month or so. A little over a month," said Waters.
City leaders say once the Valley Pure building is completed it will have top level security and surveillance. They say the number one priority for allowing recreational marijuana businesses to operate in their town is safety.