Applicants for Nevada City’s medical cannabis dispensary license discuss proposals | SierraSun.com

Applicants for Nevada City’s medical cannabis dispensary license discuss proposals

Matthew Pera
mpera@theunion.com

Growing Community, one of three applicants for Nevada City’s sole medical cannabis dispensary license, is a not-for-profit organization which proposes donating 100 percent of its net proceeds to local nonprofits.

Another applicant, Elevation 2477, hopes to operate the city’s first “cannabis campus,” housing various medical cannabis businesses — for which licenses are expected to soon be available — at its Searls Avenue location.

And applicant Nevada County Wellness, operated by a board with cannabis industry experience, proposes a wellness-based approach to the dispensary business which would hire locally and bring a large revenue stream to Nevada City.

AMENDING THE PROCESS?

Nevada City is expected to soon begin the selection process for its medical cannabis dispensary license.

City Council members will vote Wednesday, Sept. 13, via the council’s consent agenda, to omit phase two of the four-phase selection process for the license due to a lower-than-expected number of applicants.

Recommended Stories For You

The second phase was intended to reduce the applicant pool down to the top six candidates based on a ranking system, but, according to a staff report, it is now an “unnecessary” step in the process.

Phase two will remain in effect for future procedural use, the report states, “in the event council expands the number of medical cannabis dispensary permits.” But, if council votes to omit the phase Wednesday for its current selection process, the current candidates won’t have to pay the $1,733 fee associated with it.

Fees for the other three phases — all of which are higher than phase two — will remain mandatory for applicants, the report states.

The council will also vote to amend its contract with HdL, the company it hired to assist with the medical cannabis dispensary application process. The council will vote to reduce the cap on costs paid to HdL from $25,800 to $15,400, as a result of the proposed elimination of phase two, a report states.

MEET THE APPLICANTS

Elevation 2477 is proposing a dispensary business at 569 Searls Ave. The building — a portion of which is currently in use by the South Yuba Club — is zoned light industrial in a scenic corridor. Cannabis sold at the proposed dispensary would be sourced locally, according to co-founder Daniel Batchelor.

Batchelor and his two co-founders hope to bring their experience in the cannabis industry to Nevada City, Bachelor said, noting all three live locally. Bachelor previously founded Cloud 9 Cooperative — a medical dispensary in San Diego County’s Ocean Beach — and co-founder Jonathan Hogander has previously operated cannabis businesses in Oregon.

Growing Community has applied to operate a dispensary business at 440 Lower Grass Valley Road. According to City Planner Amy Wolfson, about three quarters of the property is designated as open space, and the remaining portion — where the dispensary would operate — is an existing facility with light industrial zoning in a scenic corridor.

If selected, Growing Community’s dispensary would “serve patients, protect the environment, and give 100 percent of its net proceeds to local nonprofits that serve the community,” the organization said in a news release. The organization would purchase medical cannabis from local farmers “committed to cultivating outdoors in a manner that strictly protects the land, water quality, fish and wildlife,” in an effort to be environmentally conscious.

Growing Community, founded in April, is comprised of six board members who live in Nevada County along with an advisory council which provides “oversight and expertise.” The organization’s executive director, Paul Harton, is the former general manager of the BriarPatch Co-op.

Nevada County Wellness is proposing a dispensary at 590 Searls Ave., which has a local business zoning in a scenic corridor, according to Wolfson.

Board member Harry Bennett said he’s part of a 10-member board of directors that hopes to bring high-quality medicine to local patients and provide a financial benefit to the city.

“I look at it as a partnership with the city, showing that there can be a licensed cannabis business here that can be done right, and for the right reasons,” he said.

Bennett said the business plans to donate at least 5 percent of proceeds to local charities and hire local employees.

Bennett said his brother, Kevin Bennett, will be “running the show,” leading the business as CEO. The board, he said, brings over 75 collective years of experience in the medical cannabis industry to Nevada County Wellness.