Monday, September 12, 2016

San Leandro could be moving quickly toward a third cannabis dispensary

San Leandro quickly approved a second medical
cannabis dispensary in July.
When the San Leandro City Council approved a second medical cannabis dispensary in July, its swiftness, coming just after awarding its first-ever permit to Harborside in 2015, was notable given the excruciatingly difficult path it endured to get even a single dispensary approved in the city.

More surprisingly, is word that discussions over a third dispensary coming to San Leandro have already begun. Sources say the issue could be included on a city council agenda later this month.

The likely benefactor of the third permit is centered around medical cannabis dispensary BLUM Oakland, the runner-up for the second dispensary this summer, which was given to the Davis Street Wellness Center.

During the city's initial search for qualified applicants in 2015, the city ranked BLUM Oakland third behind Harborside and the Davis Street Wellness Center. Now that the top two ranked operators in the first permit's Request For Proposal (RFP) have now received permits, there is worry the third round will essentially be approved without an updated and transparent bidding process.

Currently, neither of the two permitted dispensaries have yet to open shop in San Leandro. The Davis Street Wellness Center, through July, had not yet identified a suitable location for its proposed dispensary. One location initial sought by the Davis Street Wellness Center and noted in its application, is not viable under the city's zoning rules since it's too close to the San Leandro Boys & Girls Club.

Earlier this year, some were critical of the city's decision against reopening the bidding process for the second dispensary. One of the main arguments made by critics was the cannabis industry is in a stage of rapid change and an RFP from even 12 months ago may no longer be viable.

In addition, the push for a third dispensary may signal doubts by city over the viability of the Davis Street Wellness Center, an enterprise backed by the well-known San Leandro non-profit Davis Street Family Resource Center. The non-profit and its partners have little to no experience in the medical cannabis dispensary business.

Furthermore, prior to the council's approval of the Davis Street Wellness Center permit last July, Councilmember Lee Thomas grilled Rose Padilla Johnson, the founder of the Davis Street Resource Center, over a $1.5 million loan given by the city to the non-profit for its expansion. Johnson had received a 90-day extension from the city to repay the loan while the non-profit awaited payment of a federal grant.

The exchange between Johnson and Thomas, however, highlighted for some the inherent conflict of interest that existed in the awarding of the permit to Davis Street Wellness Center, along with raising questions of whether the non-profits intends to use the potential windfall from the dispensary to cover its debts to the city. In essence, saying, if the city doesn't give us the permit, we won't be able to pay you back.


"During the city's initial search for qualified applicants in 2015, the city ranked BLUM Oakland third behind Harborside and the Davis Street Wellness Center." this is incorrect. The City did not provide a final ranking of the applicants. They only release a ranking from the first step in the process, not the final ranking after all the steps were completed. My guess is that BLUM ranked higher than Davis Street Wellness Center in the final ranking, as they did in the final ranking after the second RFP process.

San Leandro will make a lot of money with three dispensaries. They have been doing a great job in the last few years.

Davis Street does a great job helping people in the community. They can help even more with the new revenue brought to them from Medical Marijuana.

Live in San Leandro and I believe there should be at least three dispensaries in San Leandro. In fact, I believe in legalization as the majority of Californians will vote to do in November.

Blum definitely deserves a dispensary. Oakland patients seem very happy with them.

Just saw a poll that said 60% of California voters were in favor of prop. 64 which would legalize marijuana. It didn't break it down by region, but in the bay area it probably is more like 75%

Why is it taking so long for Harborside to open their dispensary? They seem to be dragging their feet and need to get their act together. Why do San Leandro residents still need to go to Oakland to get their medicine?

Federally Qualified Health Centers receive their funding once they are granted designation from the federal HHS agency. It's $600K+, which is to reimburse the Centers for the cost of providing care. These funds are intended to be start up funds to help the centers hire staff. Why did Davis Street need 1.5 million in start up funds from the city if it already received or was going to receive funds from the federal agency to start their health center? Does anyone know how they spent 1.5 million of taxpayer dollars & how they intend to pay us back?

I don't care who opens a clinic first. Just do it as quickly as possible.

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