BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Redwood City officials announced yesterday (March 29) who will receive licenses to operate cannabis stores and where those retailers will operate.
The city received 27 applications. But the locations the applicants wanted was kept secret. When the location of one store leaked out, residents were outraged.
Three of the four shops are on Broadway, and one is in the abandoned Any Mountain sporting goods store at 928 Whipple Ave.
The four winners are:
• Juva Life at 2301 Broadway, near Hamilton;
• Embarc at 1870 Broadway, across the street from Grocery Outlet;
• Airfield Supply replacing Any Mountain;
• MMD at 1764 Broadway, near Maple St.
These will be the first cannabis retailers between San Francisco and San Jose. Other cities have closed their doors to such stores.
There does not appear to be an appeals process for residents who may be unhappy with a cannabis store moving into their neighborhood. City spokeswoman Jennifer Yamaguma told the Post yesterday that there is an appeals process for cannabis businesses that have been denied permits or have had their permits suspended or revoked by the city.
Under city code, cannabis businesses can open in commercial or mixed-use zones like any other retail business, Yamaguma explained.
Some residents might be surprised to learn marijuana retailers will be opening in town since the city didn’t require applicants to do much in the way of outreach.
Resident Douglas Ledingham previously told the Post that he is opposed to Air Supply store. He found out about it when he was given a flyer about the shop by some people doing work on the property.
Airfield Supply will be running the 20,790-square foot store. It also runs a 20,000-square-foot location near the San Jose airport.
Airfield ranked third on the city’s list. Stevenson Diaz’s team took into consideration the qualifications of the owners, neighborhood compatibility, what community improvements the store would fund, among a list of other issues.
The highest-ranking business is one whose CEO is from Redwood City.
Juva Life was the highest scorer, with 96%. The publicly-traded company is headed up by Redwood City native Doug Chloupek and already has a delivery hub in Redwood City. Juva also has locations where marijuana is grown, products are made and the drug is researched, according to the company’s website.
So Cal business MMD Redwood City Inc. is run by Steve Ashbel, who has recently applied to run a shop in New Jersey. He opened up shops in Hollywood and Long Beach a few years ago.
Also granted a permit is the business called Responsible and Compliant Retail Redwood City LLC, a similarly named company “Responsible and Compliant Retail Concord” that went by Embarc had applied to get a permit in Concord last year.
Embarc has opened up a series of retail shops in the state, including in Fresno and Alameda, where it is headquartered. Embarc appears to have made it out of the Fresno process without being roped into lawsuits, which based on media reports, plagued the process there.
Out of the running
Two businesses that were entwined in Fresno-related lawsuits — TAT and Authentic 650 — did not get permits. Up to two more permits may be handed out down the line. Council gave Stevenson Diaz the green light to permit up to six shops. It appears that she would then give permits to the next highest ranking shop, but that question was not answered directly by the city.
Authentic 650 ranked Number 7, meaning if others drop out for any reason, they could potentially be given a permit. The Fresno lawsuit, filed by a competitive cannabis business, claimed that Authentic 559, should not be allowed to operate in Fresno because former owner Brian Mitchell, who is still listed as the owner of Authentic 650 in state documents, is facing fraud charges in Alameda County for felony insurance and worker’s compensation fraud, according to an article in the San Joaquin Valley Sun.
Police will see buyers on video
City Council voted Oct. 26, 2020, to let retail pot shops open. Since then, the city manager’s office has been working developing a permitting process and sorting through applications. Stores must renew their permit every year and all of the businesses’ video footage must be made available to the Police Department.