While marijuana dispensaries have been sprouting like weeds across Los Angeles, no company has been able to take root in Santa Monica’s highly regulated soil — until now.
After being selected by the City as one of two cannabis companies in a 2018 licensing application process, CPC Compassion Inc. has secured a location at 925 Wilshire Blvd. and submitted its application for a Conditional Use Permit.
If the permit is granted, construction and design plans approved, and other necessary licenses obtained, Santa Monica could see its first dispensary open doors by December at the earliest. However, unlike almost every other dispensary in LA, it will not be selling marijuana for recreational use.
This is due to Santa Monica’s Cannabis Ordinance, which only allows for two medical dispensaries to do business in a strictly defined area of the City. These rules were passed by City Council in October 2017 — a few months after recreational marijuana was legalized in California — and then extended until 2023 by a vote in February 2020.
The team behind CPC Compassion is excited to be the first dispensary to open in Santa Monica’s coveted market, but acknowledges that there will be difficulties that come with its medical only designation.
“Finding providers that can give recommendation letters is not required by 99 percent of all the dispensaries here, so it is going to be a challenge for patients to find recommendation letters to then come use our dispensary,” said Dr. Paul Song, chief medical officer at CPC Compassion’s parent company Calyx Peak.
Prior to California’s recreational legalization of marijuana, customers needed a letter from a medical professional to patronize a dispensary.
While there was formerly a large market of letter providers, the infrastructure faded away once recreational use was legalized.