Fields about six miles from downtown Livermore could soon be home to the Tri-Valley’s first legal marijuana farm, a 32,000-square-foot greenhouse that developers say could result in 20 to 30 jobs.
The Oasis Fund Livermore Grow Facility would be located at 7033 Morgan Territory Road in the unincorporated Alameda County area, a 98-acre site owned by The Oasis founder Chuk Campos.
Campos lives in a home on the property he has owned for seven years. He described the grow farm as “high end” and said it will sit on about two acres of the agricultural site.
“It’s going to be the showcase for the organization,” said Campos, whose investment group is also developing cannabis farms in California City and Sacramento.
Campos said he hopes to gain approval by February, start construction by April and open for business in September. He’s been working on the project since 2016. County officials rejected the plan in 2017, but he and his investors pushed forward again and have obtained state and county licenses to grow. Next up would be a public hearing for a conditional use permit from the East County Bureau of Zoning and Adjustments.
“I’m the eternal optimist,” Campos said. “We need to be in business. This has been a long, protracted process. It’s a big cash drain on the investors. They need to start seeing some momentum.”
Among those investors is Andrey Kukushkin. Kukushkin, of San Francisco, was indicted in October on campaign finance charges along with two associates of Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney. A federal grand jury alleges Kukushkin and three other men in a plot to use money from an unidentified Russian to support politicians who might help them get retail marijuana licenses in the United States.
Campos declined to talk about the allegations against Kukushkin, but said he is one of several investors and will not be involved in the project if he is convicted.
According to a recently released 83-page Alameda County Planning Department environmental impact report — which lists Kukushkin as the project’s sponsor — the greenhouse built at the rear of the property would contain a 22,000-square-foot “cannabis canopy” where the marijuana would be cultivated. A 5,040-square-foot processing building with drying, trimming and storage rooms and office space would be developed closer to the main road. The facility will include a parking lot with 26 spaces. Although there are some homes to the north, the site is largely surrounded by vacant land and Cayetano Creek on the west.
No sales would be conducted on site. The processed marijuana would be sold to distributors, Campos said.
In the past, residents have complained about the potential for odors and crime, prompting the previous denial for a permit. This report concludes the farm will not have negative impacts on the surrounding community.
“People were afraid,” Campos said. “They thought they’d wake up in the morning and there would be lines of cars outside waiting to buy marijuana.”
Campos called that “patently untrue.”
“You’ve got to go to a dispensary for that,” he said.
The county report said the cultivation facility will be surrounded by an 8-foot security fence with video surveillance and lighting. Entrance to the site would be “strictly controlled” with at least one security guard working at all times. Employees will undergo background checks and use keyboards to enter the facility from the rear. The public would not be allowed to enter.
Cannabis would be stored in “high-security, fire-proof safes,” and be removed only for immediate transport or sale, the report said. The storage area will have “a volumetric intrusion detection device installed and connected to the facility intrusion detection system.”
Campos said thieves would have an easier time entering a CVS pharmacy to steal opioids.
“We are growing in a controlled indoor environment, climate-controlled highly-filtered. You won’t have odors coming out,” Campos said.
As for water use, the proposal says the site would use up to 5 million gallons of water per year; 2,800 gallons per day for cannabis irrigation, 1,000 for sanitary and processing uses, and up to 10,000 gallons a day for the cooling system. A rainfall catching system on the roof would have the ability to collect 400,000 gallons a year.
Campos said his plan is part of the The Oasis “vision,” which he spells out on its website. “With our focus on agriculture, water, energy and food, the Oasis will work toward complete energy solutions,” the site said.
“Marijuana is a high cash-value crop that can help to accomplish all those things. That’s why I want to do it,” Campos said. “Food, water, energy and tech energy. There’s good margins and good ways to do this.”
The full environmental impact report is available on the Alameda County Planning Department website. Comments through Jan. 24 can be sent to Senior Planner Sonia Urzua at 224 W. Winton Ave., Suite 111, Hayward, CA 94544 or email her Sonia.email@example.com.