Santa Monica Approves Second Medical Marijuana Pharmacy

The pharmacy would be located at 1416 Wilshire Boulevard

From Dolores Quintana

Harvest of Santa Monica Medical Marijuana Pharmacy has been granted conditional use permits by the Planning Commission to operate in the City of Santa Monica.

Alongside CPC Compassion, Harvest would be the second and last pharmacy legal to operate in the city. In the city of Santa Monica, recreational cannabis dealers are not allowed to operate brick and mortar stores.

Harvest still has a number of permits and licenses to be obtained from local and state authorities, such as:

Elisa Paster, chairwoman of the Santa Monica Planning Commission, announced that her law firm, Glazer Weil, is involved in a cannabis industry litigation in which Harvest is one of the litigants, but has not backed out because she is not involved or “very” little involvement in the lawsuit itself. “

The staff report submitted by Tony Kim, Santa Monica’s chief planner, recommended approval of the conditional use permit and the adoption of the formal fourteen condition measure, including the stipulation that if Harvest vacates the property in the future, any other medical marijuana Pharmacy that wanted to take over the place would have to apply again for a new conditional use permit.

The biggest objection came from Commissioner Shawn Landres, who asked: “Has the geographic distribution of potential licensees in the city been taken into account? Can the Commission take this into account in its deliberations? Considered the proximity of the second license holder to the first? If the Commission chooses to do so, what would be the appropriate path to ensure that permits are evenly distributed across the geography of the city? “

Chief Planner Tony Kim replied to Commissioner Landres, saying “As for the assessment process, I don’t think the location has been considered as our regulation has already defined exactly where these pharmacies might be … Given the 600 foot radius from the minimum” Buffers from sensitive locations of use, coupled with the two Wilshire and Santa Monica sections they might be in, these two restrictions really limit the number of potential locations these two pharmacies could be located. For the Commission’s review, do they meet the 600 foot buffer? “

Commissioner Landres also raised the fact that if the Commission were to grant the CUP to Harvest, it would be one of two permits and that no other companies could be granted once it was granted.

Heidi von Tongeln, the city’s deputy public prosecutor, said the only issue within the Commission’s remit was the conditional use permit itself.

Chair Elise Paster said the commission had received “many” letters objecting to the pharmacy and its proximity to Lincoln Middle School, and asked Planner Kim how far the potential pharmacy was from the school and whether there are “safe ways” to school. School for children. Planner Kim determined that the pharmacy was 250 yards from Lincoln Middle School, but he needed to check the “safe routes”.

Harvest Representative Ben Kimbro then presented the company’s presentation to the Commission, expressing the company’s commitment to safety and security and the record of zero sales to minors. He also stated that the company intended to hire within the Santa Monica community, highlighting their high standards of pay, benefits and training. He also mentioned that the company is also committed to training its employees.

Commissioner Laurie Lambert said she was comfortable with Harvest’s level of security, which she described as “exceptional”, and its location due to the proximity to the many medical practices in the area. She suggested that Harvest reach out to Lincoln Middle School and work with the school to allay some of the fears of parents whose children visit Lincoln.

Commissioner Nina Fresco agreed with Commissioner Lambert and said: ‘If I ever need medical cannabis personally, I might want to check and compare both places and see what they have and what I like and I don’t want to have to drive all over town so I can do that. ”She also mentioned that there have been a number of studies of medical cannabis locations in areas with similar regulations as Santa Monica, and that the studies have concluded that pharmacies have absolutely no effect on funds – and high schools and their students.

Commissioner Lambert then launched a vote on conditional use permit for the Santa Monica harvest on the terms that the company target the parents of Lincoln Middle School children who are having pharmacy issues, and Commissioner Fresco added a condition that the flat glass windows in the waiting room must be transparent. Commissioner Jim Reis called for a condition to be added to align opening times with those of the other pharmacy.

However, Commissioner Landres said that he would vote against the motion because of his expressed concerns about the overall and proximity of the two pharmacies to one another. Commissioner Mario Fonda-Bonardi replied to Landres: ‘We did not tell them that they had to be far apart or we did not say that they had to be evenly distributed. In a way, it’s like an ambush. It’s like they almost reach the finish line and then we say, ‘The goal posts are over here.’ I think it has good intentions, but if we take this path we will be too late. “

Commissioner Landres took Commissioner Fonda-Bondardi’s position to heart and chose to abstain instead of voting against the CUP and the measure was adopted.

The commission then voted on the specific conditions. This includes that the operating times for both pharmacies are the same and the glazing of the waiting room windows is as transparent as the law allows. Commissioner Landres called for a change to the third condition, which says Harvest must reach out to parents and Lincoln Middle School officials to allay fears about the pharmacy’s impact on middle school students. The request was accepted.

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