CA: Council Goes Local With Cannabis Dispensary Choices

Photo Credit: Northeastern

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, community members raised their voices in favor of the local teams seeking to operate retail cannabis dispensaries — reminding council members that supporting local businesses has been a long-standing mantra in the community and that they should support Cloverdalians who help the city thrive.

At the end of a four-hour meeting involving three presentations, spirited public comments and tough questioning at times, the city council chose two teams with local roots to usher in the city’s first cannabis dispensary businesses.

Specifically, the city council voted to give direction to city staff to prepare a resolution for the March 27 council meeting awarding retail cannabis dispensary permits to Red Door Remedies and Quonset Botanicals.

Council member Gus Wolter introduced the motion, vice mayor Carol Russell seconded it and mayor Joe Palla also voted in favor; council member Melanie Bagby voted against and council member Mary Ann Brigham recused herself because she was with an applicant with Quonset Botanicals.

The three groups that made proposals and their locations were: California Wellness, a nonprofit medical cannabis dispensary submitted by Scott Perkins of San Rafael and Robert Elam of San Francisco, 124 S. Cloverdale Blvd.; Quonset Botanicals, whose principals are Cloverdale residents Mary Ann Brigham, Michael Brigham, S. Ipolani Bovee, Shawn Bovee and John Garland, 314 South Cloverdale Blvd., and Red Door Remedies, owned by Cloverdale residents Diana Schraner and Jammie King, 1215 A. South Cloverdale Blvd.

As Cloverdale City Manager Paul Cayler said, “This is the main event tonight. We worked very hard to put together a detailed staff report to make it easy to digest for the council and the community. Everything we’ve done for the past year has built up to this point where we are at right now.”

Each team had to pass a background screening, then undergo a scoring and ranking of their proposal materials, including business and site-security plans, facility, environmental and design considerations, convenience to community and community benefits. Formal interviews followed, leading to Tuesday night’s presentations.

Council member Bagby said she could not support the council’s choices because she judged applicants on their application merits; California Wellness received the highest score on their proposed materials.

Russell asked California Wellness why some of their employee numbers didn’t add up, to which a principal agreed that he had erred. The team acknowledged that they were “out-of-towners” yet sought to integrate the cannabis industry into the town’s greater health and wellness community.

Quonset Botanicals scored third. Supporters were not swayed and addressed the council about Brigham’s contributions. They spoke of her ability to connect with people, her role in bringing parks and the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center here, her city council service, her support of legalization of cannabis in Cloverdale and ownership of three businesses over a 40-year period, including Ruth McGowan’s BrewPub.

Patrick King, the husband of Jammie King from Red Door Remedies and a leader himself in the local cannabis industry, said: “Us here in Cloverdale, we have fought this fight, built this thing, overcome obstacles. Thanks to California Wellness, but let’s keep this local. We earned the right. We are here to take Cloverdale together as a team.”

Red Door Remedies’ Schraner and King expressed their gratitude to be sharing the podium. “We like to think of ourselves as the matriarchs of cannabis. Combined, we have decades of experience. It’s not about the buzz anymore — it’s about helping people,” said Schraner.

The proposed teams discussed security, and acting police chief Chris Parker said it was good to get that aspect “right from the get-go.”

Before adjourning, the council expressed interest in having a discussion about possibly expanding the ordinance to include an additional dispensary.