Saturday, July 23, 2011

2011-07-23 "Napa close to picking medical pot dispensary" by CHANTAL M. LOVELL from "Napa Valley Register"
It’s taking longer than anticipated for the city to name a preferred medical marijuana dispensary applicant, but the outcome will be worth the wait, city staff said.
The delay — about five months and counting — is due to the closeness with which staff have been reviewing the six nonprofits vying to be Napa’s first dispensary, city planning manager Rick Tooker said last week.
Staff originally estimated the city would name a preferred applicant in January or February, but now expect that to happen in August, according to Desiree Brun, who is managing the process for the city.
“Although the process has certainly taken some time, the council’s ordinance and city staff’s implementation of that ordinance envisioned a comprehensive and thoughtful review of the ‘preferred applicant’ submittals,” Tooker said.
“The management reviewers have met on several occasions to discuss the merits of each application relative to their strengths and weaknesses and interviews of several of the applicants were also conducted.”
Tooker said staff from different departments as well as medical marijuana dispensary specialists have been reviewing the six applications and have yet to make a preliminary recommendation as to which, if any, should open its doors in Napa.
The applicants are: the Grateful Valley Compassion Center, Harmony Health & Wellness Center, Mr. Natural, Inc., Napa Holistic Remedies, Inc., Napa Organics and Remedia.
Applicants are being evaluated for such factors as experience, business and finance plan, records management, supply management, security and a Napa service focus.
Because the ordinance will heavily regulate the chosen dispensary, the city will get the best of the best, Councilmember Peter Mott said.
“We have the luxury of choosing from the best candidates,” Mott said. “We don’t have to settle. Instead of just setting requirements, we went out and said, ‘Give us the best you’ve got.’”
Once the city names a preferred applicant, the other five have 21 days to plead their case further to the city, Brun said. After that, the community development director will make the final decision.
“Once the final determination is made to select an applicant to proceed through the process, then a use permit for a physical location for the dispensary and associated aggregated cultivation facility will take approximately six months to review,” Brun said.
Once the dispensary goes into operation, the city will wait one year before considering whether there is enough need to permit another one, Brun said.
“Realistically, given the fact that the permitting process can take a minimum of six months, the second dispensary may not be up and running until one to two years after the first dispensary opens its doors,” she said.

Applicants -
•The Grateful Valley Compassion Center
•Harmony Health & Wellness Center
•Mr. Natural, Inc.
•Holistic Remedies, Inc.
•Organics and Remedia

Selection criteria -
Experience, business and finance plan, records management, supply management, security and a Napa service focus.

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