The Baldwin Park Planning Commission approved a 20-year development agreement, which was initially billed as a lifetime deal, for the city’s lone marijuana distributor, Rukli Inc.
The agreement was first described in a city staff report as a lifetime agreement for Rukli’s second location at 4150 Puente Ave., but city Community Development Director Gus Romo issued a corrected version Wednesday afternoon that clarified the term for the agreement is 20 years.
The language of the previous agreement stated that the agreement “shall automatically renew for successive ten year terms unless one party provides written notice to the other party at least ninety days in advance of the end of the existing term that it does not wish to renew the term of this statutory agreement.”
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the agreement for Rukli as well as agreements for marijuana cultivation and manufacturing businesses The Grown Folks, 14712 Arrow Hwy., and W&F International Corp., 4276 Elton St., whose agreements were both set for 15-year terms.
Resident Julie Johnson, who lives on Elton Street, said she worried that W&F International could bring crime to a city that already has too much.
“This is already a high-crime city,” Johnson said. “Now we’re going to add businesses that are going to continue to bring crime to city?”
All of the city’s marijuana businesses are required to pay an annual $50,000 public safety fee that the Baldwin Park Police Department could use to hire additional sworn officers, Romo said.
In addition, Rukli CEO Shaun Bershatski said at Wednesday’s meeting that the business would have armed guards both outside and inside its warehouse.
Bershatski added that Rukli will pick up marijuana and cannabis products from cultivators and manufacturers in the city, bring them back to their warehouse for testing, then take the products out of the city to retailers throughout California within an estimated 72 hours.
Rukli has attracted a great deal of attention since the City Council chose it as the lone distributor allowed in Baldwin Park in December.
The city faces a lawsuit filed by a resident and one of the other applicants to distribute marijuana for allegedly granting Rukli a monopoly.
Bershatski made a $4,400 campaign donation to Councilwoman Monica Garcia’s State Senate campaign a day after she voted to approve Rukli, a move that has been criticized by several city leaders.