The Guadalupe City Council on Tuesday approved Root One to become the city’s first cannabis dispensary, nearly a year after passing an ordinance allowing cannabis retailers to apply for business licenses.
The unanimously passed resolution will allow Root One to open its storefront at 928 Guadalupe St., which the company expects to be operational in six to nine months, once the conditional use permit process and renovations are completed. completed. Two restaurants had inhabited the space previously, although the council noted that none had the resilience they hope Root One will have.
Root One was the first choice of four of the five board members. While originally hoping to reach consensus on a second dispensary, the council delayed such a move.
The store is part of Slocal Roots, a Central Coast cannabis grower, retailer and industry consulting firm owned and operated by Adam Laurent of Pismo Beach and Austen Connella of Santa Maria.
“We see cannabis as a catalyst for change at Guadalupe,” Connella said. “It will bring lots of new jobs and hopefully economic redevelopment in the near future, with restaurants, retail stores and art galleries opening nearby.”
Chosen from five nominees, Root One was praised by the mayor and several council members for its efforts to connect with the community of Guadalupe.
“Some [applicants] immersed themselves in the community for about a year, helping out at various food banks. They showed they were committed to the community. It’s a good fit; it’s the base, a small town. This is who we are in Guadalupe,” Councilman Gilbert Robles said. “That’s why I feel comfortable supporting Root One.”
The praise meant a lot to the Root One contestants.
“The board has done a great job reading the candidates and what’s important,” Laurent said. “We are in complete agreement with [the council]. It’s more than a tactic that we make this work. Of course, we want to see benefits, but it’s important to us that the community succeeds.”
According to Root One’s presentation, given to the board on March 15, the store promises to have a “surf shop and record store vibe,” including an art gallery. The loading area will include a fenced delivery site with a CCTV feed direct to the police department.
Over the past five months, the council has considered deciding how many and which retailers to allow to open a store since receiving five applications in November 2021.
Besides Root One, other dispensaries include: The Roots, based in Lompoc; Mr. Nice Guy, who has more than 25 dispensaries across California and Oregon; HerbNJoy, with nearly 10 dispensaries mostly located in the Bay Area; and Element 7 from Los Angeles.
The application process included community meetings, candidate presentations and several hours of discussion at council meetings.
While some residents spoke out against cannabis in the city, the majority of comments from nearly 100 citizens throughout the period were in favor of allowing one or two retailers.
In its decision on Tuesday, the board echoed that view.
“We have studied this in detail, and I appreciate from a legal standpoint that we are making sure that we have all of our information in place with where we are going to make a decision here,” Mayor Ariston Julian said. “I agree with two, unless there is some damning information or discussion about why there should be three. Two seems to be the consensus.”
Once the board flagged the number as the best fit, they had the difficult task of narrowing the field. Councilman Eugene Costa even suggested using a lottery because he thinks everyone is a great candidate. However, after further discussion, Root One was the only store the board could reach consensus on on Tuesday.
Narrowing the field, the council passed a resolution requesting more information from The Roots and Element 7 about what they hope to do in the community, to help make the decision.
“To be completely honest, both have ties to our community and are both very good operators,” Councilwoman Liliana Cardenas said. “It’s a tough decision.”
The council hopes to hear more about what the two companies plan to do in the community, but also whether they are open to having a direct line of communication with the council should any issues arise.
“The community benefit portion is significant,” Councilman Tony Ramirez said. “The reason this is a draw for me is that Element 7 has a lot of different properties in different cities, and The Roots is more mid-sized. I tend to lean towards the more small, because they are a phone call away. I just need more information.”
The door also remains open for the two remaining candidates, as the council did not refuse their clearances on Tuesday.
Last month, the board approved a marijuana processing facility at 151 Obispo St. The former 60,000 square foot cooling and packaging site will see marijuana trucked in from nearby growers for processing, including including drying, cutting and packaging. This installation should be operational in July.