RIVERSIDE, CA — The Board of Supervisors Tuesday granted permits for the establishment of a cannabis dispensary just northwest of Lake Elsinore, despite opposition from members of the community fearful that it will increase crime, draw unwanted attention and add to traffic woes.
“If you fail to protect the residents located behind you from your clients or those who want to hang around, I will personally lead an effort to correct deficiencies in your operation,” Supervisor Kevin Jeffries told the proprietor of Empire Connect. “You’re going to have a higher bar to live up to in order to satisfy your neighbors.”
Empire Connect’s conditional use permit and development agreement with the county to open near the intersection of Macy Street and Grand Avenue was approved 5-0. It is the first cannabis shop to be authorized by the board in the unincorporated area of southwest Riverside County.
Two other marijuana stores have been approved by the board, but both are in the unincorporated community of Highgrove, bordering Riverside.
“Hundreds of neighbors are enraged by the prospect of this,” Lakeshore Village resident Rick Hatfield told the board. “This is inappropriate in a residential neighborhood. It’s in close proximity to a public high school and private Christian school. Children frequent the location.”
He and two other Lakeshore Village residents noted that a bus stop is literally within a couple hundred feet of where the shop will be set up.
Empire Connect intends to operate a 4,500-square-foot distribution outlet between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. A mobile marijuana delivery service will be a component of the operation, as well.
The applicant has promised to make improvements to the one-acre site where the building is located, adding parking spaces and removing blight, as well as paying