HERCULES -- A medical cannabis cooperative that closed last month amid landlord-tenant and city business license issues has found a new locale down the street from its former digs in the North Shore Business Park.
On Wednesday, owner Ed Breslin submitted a business license application to the city for a medical marijuana dispensary. The old website with the name Hercules Health Center now switches to a page under construction with the new name Hercules Holistic Center.
Now Breslin needs to find a way around a provision in the Hercules Municipal Code that bans medical marijuana dispensaries in the city without referring to them as such. A 2006 ordinance amending the code reads:
"No license shall be issued ... authorizing the conduct or continuance of any business which violates state or federal law."
Medical marijuana is legal under California law but illegal under federal law.
Breslin and Dan Rush, the director of the National Medical Cannabis and Hemp Division of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, say they are confident they can get together with city leaders and craft a workable regulating ordinance. They are encouraged by a recent report by City Manager Steve Duran that cites taxation of medical marijuana as part of a range of possible new, future revenue sources for the city.
But ultimately it would be up to the council, which has yet to have a policy discussion whether to allow medical marijuana
That's what Vallejo, Berkeley and Oakland do, Breslin and Rush point out, adding that Hercules could benefit from such a tax, too.
"I have been invited by various members of the city (government) to talk with them on developing concepts and components that would help the city arrive at an ordinance that hopefully will enhance tax revenue for the city and provide for a dignified and compliant industry for our members, and the patients that we serve, and the communities that we serve in," Rush said in a telephone interview.
He said the city attorney and the city manager are among the officials he spoke to.
The Hercules Health Center opened in late 2010 at 500 Alfred Nobel Drive. It closed in February after a falling-out between two principals, chiropractor Dr. Todd Kaufmann and then-business manager Breslin. The new center is planned for 706 Alfred Nobel Drive.
The city had revoked Kaufmann's license and administrative use permit for a chiropractic business once the city determined the true nature of Hercules Health Center's business, according to City Clerk Doreen Mathews; a subsequent business license application was denied, she said.
Breslin said the main reason Hercules Health Center closed was a dispute with the landlord. Meanwhile, the closed locale, consisting of two business condo suites, is scheduled to be sold at a trustee sale Tuesday in front of the Contra Costa County Superior courthouse in Martinez, according to a real estate auction website; the total debt on the two suites is $617,300, according to the website.
A phone message to the property owner, WCD Co., was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner.