CA: Council Selects Five Cannabis Dispensaries To Open In Davis

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Five cannabis dispensaries have been selected by the City Council to open up shop in Davis — one downtown on F Street; two on Olive Drive and two on Second Street east of downtown.

The five dispensaries were selected on the first straw poll held by the council Tuesday night, with each receiving three or more votes from council members, who had been asked to pick their top five applications.

Prior to the straw poll, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s cannabis dispensary ordinance to increase from four to five the number of conditional use permits they could approve.

Staff will return June 19 with conditional use permits for the following applicants:

* California Grown at 1605 Second St.

* Davis Cannabis Collective at 2121 Second St.

* F Street Dispensary at 416 F St.

* Greenbar at 965 Olive Drive

* Kind Farma at 946 Olive Drive

Prior to voting, council members praised the quality of all of the applications the city received last fall (13 in all) and noted the decision was not easy.

“We will deny some great applications tonight,” said Councilman Will Arnold.

He urged those not receiving council approval Tuesday night “to stay in the game” by becoming licensed for delivery or applying for a dispensary permit in the future if more become available.

The current ordinance, as amended by the council Tuesday, allows up to five dispensaries to be approved for 18 months initially, after which the council could choose to permit more.

Arnold also said Tuesday he believed downtown is “a reasonable place for dispensaries,” and selected two downtown applicants (F Street Dispensary and Good People Farms at 514 Third St.) among his top five.

But F Street Dispensary, located between Fourth and Fifth streets, was the only downtown location selected by the council.

Two of the five selected dispensaries were unanimous decisions — both of the Second Street locations were chosen by Arnold, Mayor Robb Davis, Mayor Pro Tem Brett Lee and Councilman Lucas Frerichs (Councilwoman Rochelle Swanson recused herself from the vote because she recently leased property on Olive Drive in the vicinity of the two proposed Olive Drive dispensaries).

The applicants behind both of the Second Street dispensaries have long histories in the cannabis industry — including operating dispensaries in Sacramento — and neither location drew public opposition during recent hearings before the Davis Planning Commission or the City Council.

The two Olive Drive dispensaries also were selected Tuesday, with each receiving three votes from council members (Davis, Frerichs and Lee voted for Greenbar, while Arnold, Frerichs and Lee voted for Kind Farma). The dispensaries will be located across the street from each other on the west end of Olive Drive.

F Street Dispensary, meanwhile, was selected by Arnold, Frerichs and Lee. No application received more negative public comment during planning commission and council hearings than F Street Dispensary, but none drew more support either. Opposition was primarily focused on the dispensary’s location on F Street and the impact it would have on traffic and parking on that block.

But supporters praised the applicants’ Davis roots, including former state Sen. Lois Wolk, who told council members earlier this month that local management and control should be a prime consideration — something Arnold referred to in explaining his vote Tuesday night.

Prior to the straw poll, Davis asked each of his colleagues to outline the factors that were most important for each in making their selections, and geographic diversity actually was mentioned most.

Selecting locations in different areas of the city, Davis noted, “helps us understand where the opportunities are and maybe where the constraints are.”

For those applicants left out in the cold Tuesday night, that was some indication that opportunities may yet await in the future.

Davis also remarked on what has been a significant change in attitudes toward cannabis — from prohibition to allowed use — but also the worries many in the community have about what those changes mean.

“Getting it right out of the gate is really important,” the mayor said.

With their vote Tuesday night, the council made their choices on what getting it right means.

Now staff will return June 19 with findings on conditional use permits for the five selected applicants.

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