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The wait is over — you can now buy recreational marijuana in Grover Beach

Natural Healing Center, a cannabis facility that opened in Grover Beach, is the first retailer in the county to sell recreational marijuana.
Natural Healing Center, a cannabis facility that opened in Grover Beach, is the first retailer in the county to sell recreational marijuana. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

San Luis Obispo may have been the county’s first city to vote to allow adult-use cannabis businesses, but Grover Beach beat it to the punch on actual implementation.

People can now walk into a store to buy recreational marijuana in the South County city.

The Grover Beach City Council amended permits for four cannabis retailers July 9, allowing those businesses to start selling cannabis for adult use. Previously, all four were permitted for only medical marijuana.

The council previously approved an ordinance amendment allowing recreational commercial cannabis businesses in May, but the businesses had to apply for specific permit amendments to qualify.

The first Hemp and Cannabis Fair was held at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo, California, on Saturday, June 9, 2018. The event celebrates the legalization of marijuana in the state.

Of the four permitted businesses, only Natural Healing Center and 805 Beach Breaks are currently operating — though up until last week, they could only sell medicinal products.

Less than two weeks after it opened at 998 Huston St. — before it could even host its grand opening event — Natural Healing Center co-founder David Separzadeh says the business is officially allowed to sell to recreational customers.

“We just within the past hour got the confirmation that we received our state license,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

The license approval makes Natural Healing Center the first physical location in the county where recreational users can legally purchase cannabis.

“It’s extremely exciting,” he said. “We’re happy to be open, and we’re happy to be in Grover Beach. And we’re ready to serve our community.”

Separzadeh said he expects business will increase by roughly 25 to 30 percent, akin to what other California cannabis retailers saw when they added recreational in January. Prior to the new license, he said the business was receiving between 30 and 40 calls a day asking when they would start selling recreational cannabis.

Meanwhile, 805 Beach Breaks is also preparing to sell to recreational customers.

Manager Dan Fried said Tuesday that the business is just awaiting its new adult-use state license before opening the doors to recreational customers.

Fried said he expects the license to be approved by the end of the week — and if it is, they’d start selling to recreational customers immediately.

“If we got them early enough in the day, I’d honestly open the doors for it later that day,” he said.

805 Beach Breaks opened at 1053 Highland Way in May.

Fried said they will host a celebration event once it has been approved. This would likely take place either this weekend or next, he said.

“Just a little shebang,” Fried said, noting customers can stay updated on availability via the business’s website, 805beachbreaks.com.

Banana LLC and Milkman both received their original permits in January, but have yet to open to the public. City Manager Matt Bronson said both have indicated to the city that they plan to be open sometime this fall.

The new adult-use customers could add some extra money into the city’s coffers:

Staff estimated the city’s existing commercial cannabis tax — which voters approved in 2016 — will generate approximately $700,000 in revenue in 2018-19.

That could increase to up to approximately $1.5 million in the 2021-22 fiscal year, based on projected sales from both medical and adult-use businesses and products, according to the staff report.

The estimates don’t account for more cannabis businesses coming in or sales tax revenue from adult-use products, where both state and local sales taxes are charged, unlike medical products — meaning the real economic impact could actually be more.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928; @kaytyleslie
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