Residents hear Pacheco Bvld. dispensary plan

About 20 residents responded to a flyer inviting them to a presentation at the Mt. View Clubhouse Sept. 26. Elemental Wellness Company is a successful legal marijuana dispensary operating in San Jose for nearly 11 years, and they have applied to locate in the unincorporated area of Martinez. Twenty-five cannabis businesses are vying for the four licenses that will be issued by Contra Costa County, and Elemental Wellness Center is one of them.

The company’s solid business record and it’s “closed loop” license distinguishes it from newer firms, according to Devon Julian, Elemental’s spokesperson for the Mt. presentation. Elemental can operate under all six types of cannabis licenses that are issued by the state: growing, manufacturing, buying and selling cannabis, including retail sales and delivery, and wholesale sales and distribution. Now the state only issues those licenses individually.

Elemental has plans to remodel a property at 3503 Pacheco Blvd., near the Ace Truck Box store and offer 400 different cannabis products for sale. Cannabis is sold in every conceivable form including foods, soda, tea, tincture, frozen popsicles, clones (seedlings), lotions, and traditional forms. Julian said they will offer various CBD and THC products including flower, edibles, tinctures, and topicals.

The Pacheco Blvd. location was chosen because county zoning permits the intended use, the low Martinez crime rate, its easy access to public transit and freeways, and the site is away from residential zones, according to Julian.

If approved by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors sometime in November, the business that opens subsequently will be more than a store. The intent is to make it more like a spa with free yoga, massage therapy, community events and free classes on topics such as the types and uses of cannabis.

Julian said as clients enter a lobby setting security checks each person to be sure they are over age 21, and they ask to see a prescription or recommendation. Then they enter the sales area but are not allowed to help themselves to products. A salesperson will discuss what they are looking for and help them make a selection. If it is a medical purpose, they can go to a more private room to discuss it. The products are prepackaged and sealed. This helps keep them tamper-proof for children at home, and sealed packages improve interior air quality. There is also an air filtration system in the building.

Security and all government levels of regulation are a major consideration in the cannabis business. “San Jose has some of the toughest regulations in California,” Joe LaMonaco, Elemental’s COE said. “People in the industry say, ‘If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” He said the company has a compliance officer who does nothing but make sure the business is up to date on the latest legal changes and is in compliance.

The new facility will have carded entries, vaults, security personnel on-site (including discreet patrols of the parking areas), and 24-hour audio and video security recording devices with 90-day access available for authorities, according to the proposal.

La Monaco said Elemental is dedicated to serving the community and has committed to annual donations totaling two percent, or $90,000 to non-profits and community groups. Loaves and Fishes was named as one. The company plans to hire 25 to 30 employees who will receive at least three weeks of training, and be paid $2 over the minimum wage amount. They have agreed to allow union presentations, and offer 20 hours per month in volunteer hours.

The building plans call for sustainability elements such as LED lighting, low flow water fixtures, and energy-efficient HVAC, solar panels, drought-resistant landscaping, bike rack, and the use of Hybrid/Electric vehicles for delivery and distribution.

There were two presentations with the same information, which elicited and very few questions. The atmosphere was one of curiosity and observation.

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