Months after they received approval for their city use permits and their state licenses to open cannabis dispensaries in Tracy, retailers who hoped to be in business by now are still on hold while the city considers finalizing the details of the permits that would allow them to start selling their products.

During the March 7 meeting some of the business people told the Tracy City Council about money they’ve spent -- into the hundreds of thousands of dollars – and the time they’ve waited – as long as 9 months since their state permits were issued. In the meantime they continue waiting for their city permits with no explanation or response on why the city has delayed the process.

They spoke to the council during the public comment portion of the meeting, where speakers are each given 2 or 3 minutes to address the council, but the council cannot discuss the issue and can only refer the matter to city staff for followup.

Michaela Toscas, owner of Inspire Positive LLC/Higher Elevation, which gained its state permit last May and city use permit to operate a non-storefront delivery operation in January, said that as of Wednesday she still hadn’t heard back from City Attorney Bijal Patel, who is reviewing the company’s community benefits plan. Toscas was still hopeful that the Tracy City Council would put the matter on next week’s agenda so that the council could ask city staff for answers.

Until then she is on hold, and unsure if or when the city will allow her business to open.

“We’re not being given any timeline on when we can open and we’re not being given any direction on what we should do,” she said.

By the end of 2020 the city had approved 17 businesses for cannabis permits. Eight of those applied for conditional use permits for the physical sites where they could operate, and all but one were approved. Five of those have their state permits, some approved as far back as May 2022.

Toscas said that as someone who has been active in the local business community she has learned that some of those local cannabis entrepreneurs have effectively pulled out of Tracy.

“I can tell you right now that we’re not going to have all that were originally approved. A lot of have shut down.”

Last week she told the council that after a 2½-year process the two things that appear to be holding up her permit are a local police certification, including employee background checks, and the city attorney’s review of the company’s community benefits proposal.

“I’ve been through around 40 different Live Scan background checks for my different cannabis licenses throughout the years, including one recently for this license through the state, the same one the city would be conducting that includes state, local and federal records,” she told the council. “The city of Tracy’s background check is redundant to state law and unnecessary.”

Kimberly Cargile of Tracy Cannabis Collective told the council that her company is ready to open its dispensary at the corner of 10th and E streets, but is facing the same delays. Her company gained approval for its conditional use permit in September.

“When we applied for our sign permit the city responded that we cannot open until we have a signed community benefits agreement and are signed off by the police department,” she said.

“We do not have corporate-backed investors. This is our own team’s money that we are starting this company with, and it’s costing us $10,000 every month our building is empty. We have already spent almost $300,000 on this process.”

She too has passed state and federal background checks, and said that the city approved her company’s community benefits agreement.

“Our community (benefits) agreement was agreed to almost a year ago also. You guys passed that in city council last April, we agreed to it right away, and we submitted it with our CUP application, which was already approved.”

“Please direct staff to move forward with the process and grant us the permit to open while they work out the final details. We don’t have very much money left and we need to open for business to be able to help the community and provide a service to the city of Tracy.”

The first cannabis retailer to gain its conditional use permit back in August, Altamont Wellness at 11th Street and Parker Avenue, got its state license in June. Since then the company has rebuilt the interior of what was once In Shape Health Club and installed security cameras around the building.

“We have our approved conditional use permit. We have our building permit and are nearing completion of our tenant improvements,” Joseph Devlin of Altamont Wellness told the council.

“We have poured our heart and soul and hundreds of thousands of dollars into this effort for the last 2½ years, and now it’s possible that we are not going to be able to open and will be further delayed because of the background check issue and the community benefit agreement,” Devlin said.

“What we please ask of the city is that you allow us to operate provisionally with the state’s background check requirement and allow us to operate until the community benefit agreement is signed. We’ve invested so much money into this and subject to delay after delay after delay with the licensing program. Now we’re finally at that goal line and to have it pulled out is not just heartbreaking. It is beyond that. So I would really ask that you please take immediate action to resolve this before we suffer additional financial harm.”

• Contact Bob Brownne at, or call 209-830-4227.

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(2) comments

C’mon city council. Put on your grownup pants and join the modern age. You are starting to look a bit childish.


The city of Tracy not doing their jobs, hurting small business, and openly defying the will of the voter. Sweeeeeet.

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