The marijuana industry took a large step forward in San Luis Obispo County today with the opening of the first storefront dispensary since it was legalized effective January 1, 2018.
A year after submitting it’s application, and for the first time since medical marijuana was legalized in California in 1996, 805 Beach Breaks opened its doors as the first marijuana dispensary in SLO County.
"It’s taken a while to basically get to the point to realize we’re talking about legal businesses operating in a legal way," Grover Beach Mayor, John Shoals said.
Before Saturday’s celebration, Shoals said Grover Beach City Council established laws on regulation, taxation, and operation in the hopes of benefiting the city and residents. "I think from a city perspective we’re talking about revenue generation that will help us pay for our core services and that’s police, fire, and streets as well," Shoals said.
The new laws also allow those that need cannabis for medical purposes to have safe access to the product.
"We don’t have to feel like we’re separate from everybody else now you know we can confidently walk out with our medicine and feel like we’re just a part of the community," Teresa Voita, a customer of 805 Beach Breaks said having just walked out of the store for the first time.
For General Manager Daniel Fried, the year-long process was worth the wait. "I feel like we are setting a trend and a standard for a benchmark cannabis facility not just in Grover Beach but in the state of California," he said standing inside the brightly colored, yet modern feeling store.
Inside the facility, touch screen computers guide patients through information on each product, health facts, and price. "Ultimately we’re here to educate people. We’re really trying to push the medical aspects of cannabis as a natural alternative medicine," Fried explained.
Access to the store, though, doesn’t come easily. Patients must have their medical marijuana card or recommendation from a doctor and a state ID to enter the store. They are then verified a second time once inside. The facility is also highly guarded, with cameras, restricted access doors, and security guards. Also part of the security measures is a 24-hour camera feed to the Grover Beach Police Department; a step each dispensary will have to take.
But it’s all to assure a successful business venture. "It’s important to show people that this can be done in a professional way in a way that meets the needs of those patients who need it," Mayor Shoals said.
Fried said 805 Beach Breaks will apply for its recreational marijuana license in the coming months as well. There are three other marijuana dispensary businesses approved to open storefronts in Grover Beach, the next of which is projected to open this summer. There are also half a dozen applicants for marijuana manufacturing licenses in Grover Beach.