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Thursday, April 17, 2014

San Leandro Begins a Slow, Deliberate Approach Toward its First Dispensary

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL | After San Leandro leaders moved to allow medical cannabis to be sold within its city limits, it now needs to find a suitable operator. Last December, the City Council voted to allow just a single dispensary, despite a push by some members to allow more to satisfy demand for the drug’s therapeutic properties.

In the meantime, city staff says it doesn't have personnel with sufficient knowledge for permitting future dispensaries. At Monday night’s meeting, the council will be asked to approve a Request for Qualifications (RFP) for the hiring of a consultant to aid the city’s search for a dispensary operator. The request could be released sometime this month, according to a staff report.

Following a thawing of opposition by some on the City Council starting last year, including Mayor Stephen Cassidy, the city’s move toward allowing a dispensary has been steady, but slow. A public hearing also scheduled for Monday will discuss an amendment to the city’s zoning regulations pertaining to off-street parking for the future dispensary.

San Leandro’s foray into medical cannabis, though, is still clearly in the early planning stages. Once a consultant is approved, city staff will seek a two-step process for culling the list of potential operators. A pre-qualification process will first screen applicants, says the report, based their business plan and experience in the industry. Applicants would then be invited to apply to the Request for Proposal. During this second step, applicants will provide a desired location for the dispensary--an issue many San Leandrans in opposition of the new ordinance want to know--along with plans for security, patient tracking methods and record keeping.

The City Council could have a better idea who may be interested in bringing San Leandro its first dispensary this summer. A timetable estimates the two-step application process could begin sometime after July. Then again, according to the report, it’s anyone’s guess how many groups might be interested in helping patients fire one up in San Leandro.

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