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SLO cannabis retail applications favor local experience

Posted at 6:11 PM, Feb 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 22:35:53-05

It’s only a matter of time before cannabis stores start popping up in the City of San Luis Obispo.

Businesses had to apply by the end of January. Nine are pending review, but only three businesses will secure those spots.

Daniel Fried of 805 Beach Breaks in Grover Beach is one of those applicants and says managing one of the only existing storefronts in San Luis Obispo County will help him stand out.

“There’s a lot of benefit of having someone who has been operating in the county that has a great repertoire of experience in the industry itself,” Fried said. “Based on what we have done here in the city and how we could quadruple that in their city based on our revenue and their population.”

Since opening in May 2018, Fried says the business has made nearly $5 million in revenue and $150,000 in tax revenue for the City of Grover Beach.

San Luis Obispo applicants are graded on a point scale created by the city council.

They can score higher for hiring locally, sourcing locally, paying employees more, donating, and volunteering.

“CAPSLO is where we will be donating in the first fiscal year $50,000 as well as help them through their volunteer groups,” Fried said.

Michael Codron, San Luis Obispo’s Community Development Director, says the city council favored local businesses.

“There were some applicants who weren’t local that didn’t end up submitting applications because they were concerned about starting without the ability to get those points,” Codron said.

Megan Souza of Megan’s Organic Market is another applicant and says she plans to pay employees well.

“Entry level jobs will start at four dollars above minimum wage and our management positions will pay 40 percent above median income levels for similar positions in other industries,” said Megan Souza, owner and CEO of Megan’s Organic Market.

The application process does not come cheap – $22,000 per application plus commercial building costs.

Souza submitted two for a better chance at getting picked.

“Dispensaries can’t be located within 1,000 feet of each other so if a competitor has a really good application and is right across the street from us, it could knock out that application,” Souza said.

Currently, applications are under review and there is no indication when they will be approved.

The city council adopted the Cannabis Land Use Ordinance in Spring of 2018 and it went into effect after voters approved a cannabis tax in November 2018.