Tuesday’s resolution will allow Alameda
County’s two medical cannabis dispensaries
to seek state licenses for adult-use.

Unincorporated Alameda County’s two medical cannabis dispensaries would be financially impacted if not allowed to sell recreational cannabis starting next month, said the Alameda County’s Director of Community Development.

A majority of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday, and, in a reversal of a previous staff recommendation, voted to allow adult-use sales for its two current dispensaries.

The resolution lays the groundwork for three other potential dispensaries, two permitted for East County, and another being considered in West County, to also partake in adult-use sales sometime next year, although after the county crafts additional regulatory rules on recreational sales.

We Are Hemp, located in Ashland, and the Garden of Eden Medical Marijuana Clinic in Cherryland are the only current medical cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated Alameda County. Both are located in Supervisor Nate Miley‘s supervisorial district.

In effect, the county’s two existing dispensaries ability to seek a state license for recreational cannabis sales will be grandfathered in by the resolution.

Supervisor Scott Haggerty believes cannabis users are already eschewing medical cannabis authorization cards or allowing them to expire in anticipation of legal weed on Jan. 1. The scenario will put the county’s dispensaries at a competitive disadvantage, said Haggerty. “That would be stupid to allow them to now open up and say, ‘You’re medical-only.’ That’s dumb.”

Chris Bazar, Alameda County’s Community Development director, reiterated the claim of a financial obstacle for its medical cannabis dispensaries. But in advance of a Transportation and Planning Committee meeting on Dec. 4, Bazar recommended adult-use be banned by the county until further studies and public outreach on the subject was conducted.

Supervisor Wilma Chan referenced the staff report, calling Tuesday’s discussion inconsistent with the Dec. 4 committee meeting. Chan voted against the resolution (Supervisor Keith Carson was absent), but acknowledged maintaining competitive parity is important with adult-use dispensaries likely coming online soon in Oakland and Berkeley. However, said Chan, “I don’t think that trumps having some sort of process on adult-use.”

Last November, the Board of Supervisors approved up to six indoor-only cultivation site permits in unincorporated areas.