Arvin envisions mobile marijuana retail sales

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Arvin may be small, but if city officials are successful, they could make it the marijuana capital of the Central Valley.

The old Salter Labs in Arvin could soon be a cash cow for the city as a new industry - recreational marijuana - looks to move in.

City Finance Director Jeff Jones is attracting the pot industry. His main approach is low taxes, undercutting most, if not all, of the state.

"At 2.8 percent, it's probably going to be one of the most competitive in the state right now. If not the most competitive," said Jones.

That 2.8 percent figure is for companies making beyond a certain threshold. The tax starts at 6 percent but will decrease as production increases. Essentially, the opposite of the American income tax structure.

While Arvin is bringing the pot industry in, they aren't going all the way. They'll allow cultivation, testing, manufacturing and distribution. However, dispensaries are still banned in the city.

That doesn't mean you won't be able to buy it at all. These cannabis companies are expected to deliver. Jones said possibly as far as Los Angeles and Fresno.

"I kind of think of it as Uber," said Jones. "So, have your cannabis, but have it delivered by Ubers."

Jones referred to it as "mobile retail."

So how much revenue could this drive into Arvin? Jones estimates about $500,000 per operation, and four companies already want in.

That's $2 million a year and that's just the manufacturing tax. Cultivation and sales taxes could be millions more.

Jones knows the city could use the money, but said that's not the only motivation. He also hopes the industry will bring jobs to the small city.

"Fifteen to 20 on a distribution, and we're also talking about not only that but cultivation and nursery and things like that," said Jones. "It should be a big boon for the city."

Jones added pot jobs aren't the only ones the city hopes to gain. A good chunk of tax revenue would go towards expanding and improving the Arvin police force.

These companies want a home in the Central Valley, so much that one company offered that in addition to their taxes, they would build and donate a 5- acre soccer facility to the city, according to Jones.

The local taxes on pot will be on the November ballot and might go into affect the day after the vote.

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