Ceres resident Bridget Ludy, founder of Bibby's Chocolate of Modesto, approached the City Council last week, and asked to be involved in the city's discussions in developing a framework for cannabis manufacturing in Ceres.
Ludy, a four-time cancer survivor, said she hopes one day to have the city give her company a permit to manufacture medical marijuana chocolates in Ceres.
The city took the groundbreaking step earlier this year by allowing Kase Manufacturing to operate an indoor medical marijuana growing operation. The approval was offered under a development agreement that calls for the company to pay generous fees of of $50,000 per month during the first year. The fee increases to $75,000 per month in the second year and $100,000 per month in the third year.
In August, hoping to capture greater tax revenue from the burgeoning cannabis industry following statewide legalization of recreational marijuana for adults, members of the City Council signaled they are willing to explore other types of licenses other than manufacturing.
Sacramento lawmakers continue to craft the regulatory framework for the licensing for the production and delivery of medical marijuana as well as recreational marijuana dispensaries. The standards are due to be in place on Jan. 1.
Ludy said her company currently sells their product to major sports teams - including 16 NFL teams and major league baseball - and is in the discussions with the Toronto Raptors.
She asked for an opportunity to speak to city officials in the future, saying "I think I have a lot to say about this issue of ... considering cannabis manufacturing in the city of Ceres."
She said the issue is "close to my heart." She said at age 60 she would not have interested in the topic five years ago but a broker in Denver suggested she introduce her chocolates in medical marijuana form to the Colorado market. Ludy agreed to look into developing the product in California and in the past four years has spoken to marijuana chocolate expert in Israel and England.
"We ended up getting involved because we saw a real problem in the edibles market, which, current statistics say 78 percent of this market in California is going to be edible," said Ludy. She told Sacramento "powers that be" that "when it comes to edibles, there's an issue." That issue, she said, is the state should not allow a 15 percent variance in potency in edible cannabis products.
"If I'm in the middle of radiation or chemo and I don't want to take opiods - I've been there - and if I want to seek some other methodology of pain relief or nausea relief, and I go into a dispensary and ask the budtender, nine times out of ten they don't know jack about edibles. And my problem is I'm hoping that whoever deals with the state from this city that you will please ask them not to approve a 15 percent variance. It will hurt people. It will make them vulnerable. And there are companies like ours who have a strict science process."
Ludy said she would prefer not to drive to Oakland for manufacturing purposes.
She applauded city leaders for remaining open to allowing marijuana manufacturers and dispensaries.
"We would like to be considered and we'd like to understand the process you guys are going through. But we do have a lot to say."