Thursday, September 29, 2016

San Leandro sets the stage for third dispensary, without open bidding process

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter already has
a operator in mind for the city's potential 
third dispensary.
San Leandro’s medical marijuana dispensary ordinance was amended Monday to include a possible third permit. The San Leandro City Council only recently awarded a second permit in July, and now with its latest action, is setting the stage for third dispensary even before the initial permit holder Oakland’s Harborside last year has even opened its doors.

In addition, San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter suggested Monday night the process for determining the third permit holder may move forward without an open process. Cutter said Blum Oakland should receive the forthcoming permit. “We have a candidate that is qualified and I would like to award it to Blum,” said Cutter.

Blum Oakland ranked third in the city’s initial bidding process last year behind Harborside and the Davis Street Wellness Center group. Permits for the top two operators have since been approved, but neither is ready for business.

The city council also removed a portion of the ordinance that barred dispensaries from locating less than 1,000 feet apart. Councilmember Jim Prola said the prohibition was a vestige from the city’s early medical cannabis dispensary ordinance drafts. The city initially worried then-U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, known for her aggressive crackdowns on dispensaries in the state, might target potential San Leandro operators if they were clustered in one area, said Prola.

San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee, who abstained Monday night, expressed unease over approving yet another dispensary permit within such a short period of time. “I think we’re jumping the gun since the first dispensary hasn’t even opened and we’ve just about approved the second dispensary in a process that was not an open,” said Lee. “We’re changing the rules on the fly…I don’t think it is wise to rush at this.”

Dan Grace, a local medical cannabis cultivator affiliated with Harborside San Leandro’s operation, said the city’s approach since awarding its first dispensary permit has been unfair. “The city has not been a good partner,” said Grace. “All along the way the City of San Leandro has moved the goalposts. It’s like a bait and switch.”

At this time, there is no process for how the city will grant its third permit, pending further direction from the council, said City Attorney Richard Pio Roda. However, Cutter and Prola said they would support relying on the city’s original Request for Proposals from a year ago. “Three dispensaries rose to the top,” said Prola. “I don’t think we need to go through another procedure.”


By MW:

I am surprised that San Leandro Mayor Cutter decided to openly admit, AND EVEN FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, that she favored one particular party, and rather than at least going through the charade of pretending to be committed to equally, fairly, and fully considering all applicants or possible applicants.

For instance on issues that are decided by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors or various other sections of AC government, and such as for instance the DA's office, County Counsel's office, or Public Works Agency, etc, and while it is standard procedure for the fix to be in even from the very beginning, however to make it look good and as part of the act that the whole thing was supposedly legal and legitimate, they normally go through their scripted, prearranged, and choreographed charades of pretending to fully and fairly consider all applicants, facts, and evidence before formally and finally announcing their decision.

Mayor Cutter probably did her job and looked at the scoring and the applicants individually before the council meeting and saw Blum far and away should have won the second permit. On every category across the board Blum beat out everyone for the second permit but didn't get it because they didn't start their company in San Leandro? That's not putting the patients first for their medicine if they gave the second permit to an unqualified contender. Blum deserves to be there, more competition is always a good thing. The best qualified dispensaries is what the patients deserve.

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