Pot retailer wants big store – Neighbor isn’t happy about it

Airfield Supply Co., a chain of cannabis stores, has applied with the city of Redwood City to open up a store in the former Any Mountain sporting goods location at 928 Whipple Ave. Loopnet photo.

Daily Post Staff Writer

A cannabis retailer is asking Redwood City officials for a permit to open a store in the former Any Mountain sporting goods store at 928 Whipple Ave., and a neighbor is fighting the application.

The space will hold a lot of weed — it’s 20,790 square feet, the size of the Midtown Palo Alto Safeway store, and has 40 parking spaces.

Neighbor Douglas Ledingham said he received a flyer about the proposed cannabis store from some workers cleaning out the building after squatters found there.

Ledingham said he would have never bought his home 20 years ago if he knew that a dispensary would one day open two blocks away. He’s told neighbors about the plans and said they’re also against it.

“I don’t see why they think there should be one here in a neighborhood,” he said, saying he’d be happy to see anything else go in the building. Well, unless it’s “one of those Halloween stores.”

The Post reached out to Airfield Supply Co. to hear why it selected the location and its plans for it but did not hear back. Airfield Supply Co. has a 20,000-square-foot location near Mineta San Jose International Airport too.

City withholds applications

The Post has been trying to get further information about the proposed cannabis shops, but so far has been told to wait until Jan. 27 to receive information from the city.

The city plans to award six permits for cannabis stores. But the exact locations the applicants are seeking hasn’t been disclosed.

Ledingham said the neighborhood never had issues with Any Mountain when it was open, but he’s worried people will park on Stafford Street and smoke. He also questions how knowledgeable and capable any security guard hired by the dispensary will be. However, the city has required a security plan to be submitted as part of its application. Like other documents in the application, that plan hasn’t been released by the city.

City’s screening process

In a preliminary screening of the 26 cannabis applications, Airfield’s company, Runway Services Inc., ranked second. But the city’s final rankings are not done. City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz’s office recently interviewed the top 17 applicants based on that initial ranking.

Throughout the process, the city has been checking the backgrounds and qualifications of owners and businesses, a city spokeswoman told the Post last week. This includes some sort of screening or interview throughout nearly every phase of the process.

However, it sounds like some of the cannabis shops hoping to open in Redwood City aren’t planning a stereotypical dispensary.

Lauren Fontein, a co-owner of The Artist’s Tree, which is looking to open up in the shopping center with Bed Bath and Beyond and Wing Stop off El Camino Real, told the Post that her company plans to have art displayed in the shop and will host a range of local artists.

Store locations

Ledingham however, is questioning where the shops will be allowed, if near his neighborhood, where else?

Redwood City is the first city on the mid-Peninsula to allow cannabis stores. Redwood City, San Carlos and Mountain View have allowed for non-retail cannabis businesses, such as delivery centers and nurseries to open up.

Shops could open downtown along most of El Camino Real, from Harrison Avenue to the city’s border with unincorporated North Fair Oaks, and from Arch Street to Avondale Avenue. They will also be allowed along Veterans Boulevard from Standish Street to the city’s border with San Carlos.

They could also go along Woodside Road from Hudson Street to Safeway and along Arguello/Broadway between Fuller Street and Hamilton Street.

Furthermore, shops could end up along Seaport Boulevard and a handful of other spots throughout town.

City will get part of the sales

The city has a 4% gross receipts tax on cannabis retailers, which could prove to be a regular revenue stream for the city if the retail marijuana business gets going. The city can increase the tax up to 10%, but the city’s consultant, David McPherson, recommended that the city just leave it at 4% for now and then reassess how the businesses are doing once they are established.

With six pot stores, the tax could bring in $1.32 million a year, according to an October 2020 report from Assistant City Manager Alex Khojikian.


  1. All of the people living around these proposed stores should be warned in advance before a permit is awarded. The city could mail out cards to people like it does when there are zoning applications.

  2. If the city is expecting $1.32 million in tax then it must be estimating $33,000,000 in sales. That’s a lot of pot. That’s a lot of drugs pushed into the community and paid for by people who probably should have better things to do with their money. To get that much you need people to keep buying – keep a habit going. That would put Redwood City firmly in the drug dealing business. As California deteriorates – as it most definitely is – as we think about how tolerance or inattention brought us Boudin and Gascon, etc to make us unsafe on our streets and afraid in our cities we should think carefully about partnering with drug dealers. The city is being greedy. It should not allow any of these shops. Despite the window dressing of places like The Artist Tree it’s basically a front for pushing drugs. It’s basically Fontein and the Kahan brothers exploiting a chance to push pot. There is a good argument that in these times the last thing our public officials should be enabling is more addiction and dependencies.

  3. Visit the 16 licensed dispensaries in San Jose selling cannabis medicines & you’ll find security, & customers mainly of professional clean appearance with expensive cars. Some have spa (like Elemental) or boutique looking appearance. They add to the community in revenue, taxes, employment, & providing customers medical needs through natural herbs (not dangerous drugs like opioids & benzos)..

    Rarely have I seen any walking traffic. People sometimes sample products outside, but inside cars (not on your streets). Usually 1-2 quick tokes to see if a product on sale or a new strain ins worth going back in to buy more.

    The article mentions Airfield Supply. IMO it’s the best dispensary in San Jose

    • No, no. Hard to believe we are still talking about ‘smoking’ and ‘health benefits’. If there are health benefits those could be delivered as prescribed medicines. San Jose licenses ‘opium dens’ to get more tax revenue from the working poor and rich tech workers who, whether bored or uninspired or just weak find drugs. Dealers are quick to dress up the saloons but the real purpose is to push pot. The PR is a lot more glossy since legalization but it’s still pushing drugs. Sure, we can be a society where the young disengage, where so-called social media keeps too many in virtual isolation indoors, where what we call life is delivered by Zuckerberg and Google and the downtowns are mostly no go. That’s clearly the trend and that’s bad. The pot business is a perfect example of an inch given and opportunists who then take a mile. A plan that hopes big chunks of our young smoke more pot more often in dark places is not a good plan for the future. We should make better choices for our downtowns and for people we care about

      • Ned, I am a retired RN who is a member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA). Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae, and it is totally correct to refer to it’s flowers and extracts (made into oil and edibles) derived from the flowers as “Cannabis”. There is so much misinformation out “there” about the effects of cannabis and about the people who use it medicinally and “recreationally”. The notion that we are all lowlife criminals who are part of a crime-based addicted doper culture is a leftover from the Reefer Madness stereotypes. That representation is so wrong. Medical Cannabis has been legal in California ever since voters approved Prop 215 way back in 1996. Adult use has been legal since 2016. 2/3 of Redwood City voters, and a like ratio of all voters within SMCounty, approved adult use in 2016. Contrary to those Reefer Madness stereotypes of a bygone time most who use cannabis do so responsibly and remain productive contributors to society. You may be surprised to learn that 36 states and 4 territories now have legal medical cannabis programs. 18 states, 2 territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized Adult use. The “gateway” theory has been put to rest as even the D.A.R.E. program no longer makes that spurious claim. The fassest growing demographic of users is actually senior citizens seeking relief from pain, insomnia, and anxiety: https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2020-10-07-study-finds-older-adults-using-cannabis-to-treat-common-health-conditions.aspx
        We have around 18 Liquor stores in the city, at least 15 grocery or convenience stores that sell alcohol in RWC and about 18 Delis that also do. Not to mention the plethora of restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs that serve alcohol. Are you as equally opposed to alcohol use in society? It’s presence is ubiquitous. You must be aware that the excess use of alcohol is a seriously larger social and health problem. I encourage you to visit the site of the ACNA and get educated: https://www.cannabisnurses.org/ACNA-Recommended-Reading-List-for-Patients-Book-Resources

  4. It’s incredible distressing that these sites would be right next to 2 main thoroughfares of Redwood City. It’s a short walk from Sequoia High School & some the restaurants our teens might visit. How can this happen?!?! I sure hope the city manager is taking this into consideration. These kind of establishments should be in more industrial kind of areas.

    • Robert, you must be aware that there is a liquor store across the street and a half block away from Sequoia, and numerous businesses that sell alcohol within several blocks. Alcohol use is normalized and accepted in society, but I can tell you that my experience as a RN showed me how deleterious alcohol, and tobacco, use is to personal health with a huge cost to society. Cannabis is actually a much healthier alternative.

        • Smash and grabs have been targeting many other retail businesses including some in downtown Palo Alto, shopping centers in San Jose and Marin. The presence of cannabis businesses is a normal outcome of legalization. It is an in-demand agricultural product that consumers of legal age have a right to purchase in local stores. Redwood City has taken the slow path of due diligence. There are limited locations appropriately zoned that have available spaces. Familiarize yourself with the city’s process here: https://www.redwoodcity.org/departments/city-manager/city-manager-s-initiatives/potential-cannabis-regulations

            • I read the data a little differently. 55% strongly agree or somewhat agree that stores should be allowed in all commercial districts, like any other store. 54% strongly or somewhat agree that retailers should be allowed downtown. 47% strongly or somewhat agree that retailers should be allowed in mixed-use (live/work) districts (46% disagree). 56% strongly or somewhat agree that retailers should be allowed in neighborhood commercial districts. Last but not least, 60% agree that retailers be allowed in light industrial districts. That makes sense. Those who voted in the referendum approved retailers being in any business and commercial district at slightly different approval ratings (54%-60%), but the least favorite was mixed-use (live/work) districts. I don’t think the results mean that retailers must be relegated to light industrial districts only.

  5. Mike: The ACNA is Not a real medical licensing or accreditation group. It’s one of many organizations run by a publisher – Jannetti – in New Jersey. Anyone can join so it’s not evidence of expertise. I am well aware of the progression of pot from the weed of the sixties to the lifestyle and medicinal sales pitches we’ve seen in past years. It’s a big sales job because there is money to be made and those who want to make the money are trying to present it in such a way that it sounds appealing and even beneficial. I’m not going to debate the minor points because in the end it is dealing and profiting from drugs. Drugs are not beneficial in the neighborhood. There are a lot of headwinds and challenges for everyone right now and especially for young people and the decisions we all make about the environments we live and work in matter a great deal. The choices we make matter. Drug dens and pot shops are just not a good choice. Medicinal pot can be delivered at CVS or the corner drug store with a prescription. Snake oil claims that only pot can deliver the wonderful relief are bogus. So, we’re left with hooking kids and deadbeats who want to sit in the park or lie in the streets or join their Zoom calls at work buzzed on Strawberry scented weed. Downtown retail needs rebuilding but not with stores for drug dealers.

  6. Cannabis business licensing should be taken over by the California state Alcoholic Beverage Control department, ABC. Redwood City has to be investigated, it is a criminal enterprise. OMG, Six cannabis stores in this city? The city already has the county jail, bums drug addicts everywhere. The Any Mountain Whipple ave location is near a school and swim school on Stafford street.

    • Mike, California separated out cannabis from alcohol when it was legalized in 2016: https://cannabis.ca.gov/
      Cannabis sales through the legal channels is tightly controlled. There is nothing criminal about it. 6 cannabis stores? I looked at a map and found 12 liquor stores. And then there are about 15 grocery stores, 18 pubs and bars, and innumerable cafes and restaurants that all sell alcohol. 6 stores for the thousands of cannabis users in Redwood city will also help provide services for the surrounding towns and cities with their heads stuck in the ground in Reefer Madness states of prohibition, pretending cannabis consumption isn’t going on in their neighborhood already. Go here and read the current state regulations. it’s only 216 pages long. If they are missing something I’m sure you will let them know.

      I’m sure you can go to a Redwood city council meeting and stand up and speak your opinion. You get 2-3 minutes. Be concise.

      • There’s a reason its called dope. Cannabis and alcohol are both bad for your health. Cannabis suppresses the immune system,fact. Some of my seriously ill family,friends,co-workers, tried cannabis products and it did not help them. ABC has very good record,posting new, 30 day,changes,suspended,terminated alcohol license notices.If ABC controlled licensing of cannabis stores, we might not be writing these comments. If Redwood City was truthful from the start? Its to late. The public now knows Redwood City,like the cannabis industry is corrupt. Lets add the real players, the California democrat political party. Businesses and people in the state are connected to the industry, and have their hand in the cookie jar. Like Jean Quan, democrat Oakland ex mayor,city council and school board member who with her husband pushed to open a cannabis store in San Francisco sunset district. They lost, and there are others. The California democrat cartel wrote the rules and control the industry. If you followed the city like I have for over forty years you would be more aware of whats going on, instead of using a complex state regulations.

  7. Mike mentions he’s a member of some “Cannabis Nurses” association, and if you look his group up you’ll quickly see it’s of very questionable legitimacy. The dangerous misinformation, hype and propaganda swirling around this Potmania is beyond absurd, it’s destructive and it’s time to shout out “the emperor has no clothes!”

    Please visit here for the truth about Potmania: https://learnaboutsam.org/science/

    Bleeding heart liberal’s voted yes on “medicinal” marijuana in CA back in 1996 out of misplaced and irrational feelings, nothing based on science, nor any rational public health policy guidelines. If indeed pot had great health benefits, why hasn’t one major pharmaceutical company rushed out the next great pill? They love to make billions on any proven therapy. Answer: because Potmania is the biggest “medicinal” scam since snake oil sales by quacks from back of wagons in 1800s.

    Pharmaceutical companies have researched the active ingredients of THC and CBD chemical compounds for over 100 years and so far only a few very niche therapies use these ingredients for FDA approved therapies. In fact, even those FDA therapies are considered fairly new and not entirely proven effective. Why should THC and CBD be treated any differently than aspirin, Tylenol, Claratin, Penicillin, or any other drug therapy? Why don’t the pushers of THC and CBD be subject to the same FDA process for all their drug “therapies”?

    Forget this propaganda word “Cannabis” – its pointless, it’s only the name of the weed. The main active ingredients being produced and marketed are THC and CBD chemical compounds. I’m a proponent of SAFE DRUG policy. If THC and/or CBD compounds are one day proven to cure cancer, heart disease, lung disease, mental health disorders (rather than CAUSE them), great. But let’s follow the science on this first! Allow testing of THC and CBD first. Let’s see in 5 or 10 years what the REAL science tells us, not these hocus pocus snake oil salespeople.

    The Potmania push has put the cart before the horse. In the process, the drug pushers are aggressively trying to get pot shops placed all over our neighborhoods before we notice all the harms they bring. Now they have allies throughout our revenue hungry State and local governments, that’s called a DRUG CARTEL. We are becoming more and more like Mexico every day: unsafe, corrupt, drug cartel based economy.

    • Martha, are you a nurse? You say “some “Cannabis Nurses” association, and if you look his group up you’ll quickly see it’s of very questionable legitimacy.” Based on what review of this site https://www.cannabisnurses.org/about-us
      gives you that impression? We have over 1300 members nationwide, over 190 are MSN, APN, and even 10 PhDs. There is nothing illegitimate about the group. It is a professional organization for nurses, run by nurses.

      No medicinal uses? Are you aware that the US Government has a patent filed over 20 years ago??? Read this: https://patents.google.com/patent/US6630507B1/en

      You say there is no science on cannabis therapeutics. (BTW “cannabis” is the official botanical name of the plant. Marijuana” is a pejorative term spread by Harry Anslinger and Hearst newspapers in the 1930’s before prohibition.) Scientific studies are ongoing many places in the world, especially in Israel (just not much in the DEA controlled US) and you can keep up on it here: https://www.cannabis-med.org/?lng=el

      Lastly, this thoroughly research document on real or potential benefits and harms from cannabis consumption should open your eyes. Pay special attention to the Summary at the end of each section:


      The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids

      The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research

      National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda.

  8. Thanks Mike, your credentials allay all my concerns. Indeed, I’ll rush over to you next time I have any question about human health and my own health as clearly you’re an unbiased source of scientific based information. I can see it now, “Mike, what should I do? I have Covid, or Cancer, or Lung Disease, what should I do? Here Martha, this bag of THC edibles will do the trick!”

    What utter nonsense and unscientific disinformation you peddle.

    Yes, as I stated “Cannabis” is the name of the weed, we all know that trivia. Yet it’s a useless and generic term in any serious scientific discussion of what is really being mass marketed here. The two main active ingredients of marijuana being mass marketed are THC and CBD chemical compounds. In fact, THC, the psychoactive chemical compound, is the main one being mass marketed. The overwhelming % of sales to youth, both legal and black market pot, is product with high potency THC, marketed to youth to get them “high.” Let’s discuss the benefits of mass marketing high potency THC to the youth of America (people under 30).

    So far no THC product or THC based drug therapy has been discovered to be useful, instead State of CA has listed THC on the Prop 65 list of known toxins, especially for its proven damage to human reproductive organs. Probably good that folks who promote THC to the youth of America ought to use their own product a lot as we don’t need anymore stupid nonsensical people being reproduced in America.

    I can provide an even longer list of scientific proven harms of THC, yet here’s a few to get you started before you continue your “health advocacy” work:
    Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, November, 2016, Chapters One and two and Appendix D pp.65-66 at: https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/surgeon-generals-report.pdf
    American Psychiatric Association, 2013 “Position Statement on Marijuana as Medicine,” paragraph 1 found at: https://www.psychiatry.org/home/policy-finder
    “Is Marijuana Addictive?” DrugFacts: Marijuana, (June 2015), at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana – citing: Hasin DS, Saha TD, Kerridge BT, et al. Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(12):1235-1242. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1858.

  9. Thanks for your response Martha, but sarcastic digs aimed at me are revealing your personality. Your links are mostly about the harms of misuse and heavy use. This link I posted above is very conservative but evenhanded. I doubt you looked at it.
    “This thoroughly researched review of all the scientific studies on benefits and harms from cannabis consumption should open your eyes. Pay special attention to the Summary at the end of each section:


    The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids

    The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research

    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda.”

    Clearly you are not someone interested in reasonable exchange of ideas. You’ve cherry-picked studies and opinion pieces about the harms but refuse to see any benefit, nor understand that many people use cannabis responsibly. It’s legal whether you want it to be or not, and consumers have a right to purchase it at stores, just like alcohol and tobacco. I do not recommend that anyone use cannabis, neither does ACNA. Sales to youths under 21 is illegal. As is marketing to underage individuals. Oh, and BTW, there are legal extractions of both THC and CBD being sold for specific ailments via prescriptions by MDs in pharmacies. Be well.

  10. In the article it says “The Post has been trying to get further information about the proposed cannabis shops, but so far has been told to wait until Jan. 27 to receive information from the city.”
    Sooo… was the Post able to get any information on Jan 27? Care to share?

  11. We just got back from a trip to Bend, Oregon which has a population of about 100,000. It has 35 cannabis dispensaries and 30 brew pubs. Not once during our 2 week stay did I see anyone drunk or stoned on the street. Everyone was acting normal, going about their daily business. Many dispensaries are located among other businesses, some in residential areas others in light industrial areas. I don’t see any problems.

  12. Nick Johnson does drive around videos of Oakland, SF, Stockton, and growing problem of crimes, drugs, and homelessness there and around the country. They show us what we have ignored and it is troubling. As you watch, you think about the programs and promises, the public debates, the studies, the promises of politicians that never came true, the millions and millions of dollars that somehow disappear into non-profits and public agencies and of course the people and communities. We mostly just looked the other way. We mostly didn’t demand that no one for any reason should ever be allowed to sleep in the streets, drugged or drunk or mentally incapable of caring for themselves. We mostly avoided the petty crimes that got worse and don’t really care that much about smash and grab or wholesale shoplifting. We excuse it and look away. We don’t care about a lot of things that impact our communities because all of us have turned in and away. Our streets are becoming no-go because we fail to insist that they be safe for the children and the vulnerable, that they be clean and well maintained, that we uphold the responsibilities we have to preserve our communities. Instead, we have fouled the nest. Nothing good comes from decline. As we proclaim our virtue, we are too tolerant, too dismissive, and as we proclaim our deepest concerns for the planet, too sloppy and negligent about our own local environments. Calling for more people on more pot and pot emporiums on every corner and extending tavern society is not adults growing the best future communities for the young. It’s just more ugly, more crime. It’s just more indulgence. Time to fix and beautify, to get the homeless off the streets, to shun users and pushers, and politician drug dealers, and realize that if we want our cities to be what they once were we need to do a lot more then build drug emporiums. If it isn’t clean and neat and beautiful and safe for the kids we shouldn’t do it.

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