City issues four licenses for first cannabis stores in the Mid-Peninsula

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.

Quiet process

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.

Names change

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.


  1. Money for a few beats the voters wishes again. I’ve forgotten, how does promoting drug use benefit the larger community of normal people? Too bad if you don’t want your city hall pushing drugs in your neighborhood – too bad if some junkie is buying drugs across the street from your home where you are trying to give your child a save environment. Too bad, there is money to be made. Since when does a few potheads have higher priority? Hopefully, big tobacco will flood the markets and put these opportunists out of business because voters are just ignored.

  2. Clearly reader Ned does not remember that 57% of California Voters did approved Proposition 64 and want retail cannabis even in the Peninsula.

    Prop 64 voters were persuaded by the arguments for decriminalizing and the much overstated medicinal benefits. The larger agenda of the special interests – a lucrative pot ‘industry’, greatly expanded use, and pot dens next door were not mentioned. The notion that legalized pot would reduce or eliminate the illegal cartel trade didn’t happen – illegal pot remains a huge and growing problem. According to the LA times, growing twice as fast as legal sales. The pot lobby now begs the State to reduce taxes and regulations to help the fledgling drug business survive and both the State and local governments, eager to cash in on the drug revenues, are happy to help. That’s not good for you – it’s good for them. Prop 64 proponents raised 12 times as much money as the opposition or 50 times as much if you don’t count one large donation from an opponent out of state. Of the $25 million spent to win, one third ($8.6 mil)came from Sean Parker, noted for leaving Facebook because of cocaine charges and Napster, shut down for ripping off copyrighted music. The rest of the big money came from PACs (many out of state),a long list of Hollywood actors and folks like BLM founder Patrisse Cullors. Not exactly the community. Prop 64 is a great example of how small groups and big money control California politics but actually, most people do not like the disarray and decline that California has become. California’s kids don’t need more drugs on the streets and California’s poor don’t need to spend more of their families few dollars on drugs. About $13 billion will be spent on pot in California this year which if paid towards rent could pay the rent of over 450,000 people for a year. That’s a lot of family money going up in smoke – with nothing gained for the community.

  4. Thank you Daily Post for the comments section. Thank you Ned for great comments. It looks like our community will have retail pot stores. I am not surprised. Bob Dylan says ( The times they are A-changing) Yes, especially for the worst. I thought San Francisco and Oakland were screwed up controlled governments, add Redwood City to the list. The Democrat political party cartel is everywhere. No community spirit in Redwood City. I understand this community, now. Its like in the movie The Six Sense the young boy in the movie had special powers, what he said really describes Redwood City,( I see dead people, walking around like regular people, they don’t see each other.They only see what they want to see.)

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