Dispensary: Local Cannabis Co. will soon sell its products in Santa Monica. Courtesy photo

On Oct. 20, Planning Commission granted CPC Compassion Inc. a permit to operate Santa Monica’s first medical marijuana dispensary at 925 Wilshire Blvd.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Song said he does not want to be a disruptive force in the City and plans to work with the Santa Monica Police Department to ensure safety.

“We’re not trying to be a recreational hedgehog, we’re not trying to be some glitzy place, we want to be very subtle and understated in terms of the location, in terms of our signage, and at the same time really be an area where people do not feel intimidated to come in to try to solve their medical condition,” said Song.

Song is a 20-year physician radiation oncologist and a 14-year Santa Monica resident. He specializes in the use of medicinal marijuana and helped develop the products that will be sold in the store under the brand Local Cannabis Co.

Although commissioners were very impressed by the applicant’s presentation and agreed to grant the company a Conditional Use Permit, they did voice a few concerns.

Commissioners asked the applicants to abide by the following recommendations: hours of operation on Sundays will be 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; no noise audible from the exterior of the building shall occur outside of one hour prior to and one hour after normal business hours; and the same goes for the cleaning outside of one hour prior to and one hour after normal business hours.

The Commissioners also added a condition that CPC Compassion Inc. shall work with staff to address and improve the pedestrian orientation. In this case, commissioners were interested in having the tinted windows be replaced with clearer ones.

Customers will be required to have a medical recommendation to shop at the dispensary. CPC Compassion Inc. can sell to primary caregivers over the age of 18 years old if they show proof of being a legitimate caregiver.

Commissioner Shawn Landres was momentarily worried that schools and daycares would be excluded from opening up on Wilshire. However, while Santa Monica’s zoning ordinance says that a dispensary can’t open 500 feet from a school, daycare or church, these businesses can open 500 feet from an existing dispensary.

Community members could see CPC Compassion Inc. open their dispensary by December at the earliest. Santa Monica has strict regulations around where dispensaries can be located and how many are allowed to operate.

CPC Compassion Inc., beat out 19 other applicants in a 2017 Request for Applications process to become one of two marijuana businesses allowed to pursue business operations in the City. They are the only business that has leased an approved location and acquired a Conditional Use Permit.

In 2023, the existing zoning ordinance will expire and City Council could vote to allow recreational marijuana dispensaries to open in city limits.

“I thought they’ve (CPC Compassion Inc.) done a very good job in addressing the issues that have been raised. Essentially, they’re opening a pharmacy, and the pharmacy happens to be selling cannabis products, but the pharmacy is highly regulated, more highly regulated than almost any other kind of business in Santa Monica,” said Mario Fonda-Bonardi.