A second cannabis dispensary is coming to downtown Hayward. A conditional-use permit was granted Tuesday night to Jiva Life for a retail establishment at the former Hayward Fishery restaurant on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and C Street.
Hayward officials last year approved a cannabis dispensary on B Street. Like the location approved this week, the Cookies dispensary occupies a building that been in disuse for some time.
The proposal came to the council with strong support from labor, the local Chamber of Commerce, along with the blessing of the planning commission, Councilmember Francisco Zermeno said.
“Looking at all of the aspects of this project, it’s going to refurbished that corner. Weighing everything and balancing it out, I think it’s a good project and I support it,” Zermeno added.
The location for third dispensary – the second on B Street – has been approved by the city, but a conditional-use permit has not yet been granted. A fourth cannabis dispensary currently operates in nearby unincorporated Alameda County.
The possibility of the downtown area being saturated with dispensaries concerned two councilmembers on Tuesday night.
“Once this council vision is fully implement we’ll have five dispensaries downtown, all within one neighborhood. I don’t think the residents of Hayward, and I don’t think, particularly, the residents of downtown Hayward, envisioned this policy to be implemented — all of them within their neighborhood,” said Councilmember Mark Salinas, historically a staunch opponent of dispensaries in Hayward.
In the past, Salinas has lodged complaints over the city’s pursuit for relegating dispensaries to the downtown areas, as opposed to other parts of the city, including those surrounding the upscale Stonebrae neighborhood in the Hayward Hills.
“Their argument with this was quite clear,” Salinas said of Stonebrae residents. “They said, “They didn’t spend a million-and-a-half dollars on their homes to live next to a dispensary.'” Salinas also doubts dispensary customers will provide a needed jolt to the moribund downtown area by frequenting other establishments.
Councilmember Aisha Wahab also criticized the city’s planning for multiple dispensaries within a roughly two miles area of downtown. “When you have two restaurants that serve the same type of food,” Wahab said, for example, “it doesn’t work. One business tanks. It’s not going to be a lively neighborhood.” She later added, “We’re basically making the downtown a drug hub.”
Jiva Life representatives estimate the dispensary will generate $10 million in sales during its first three years and potentially create $700,000 in tax revenue for Hayward, according to a staff report. However, revenue estimates by dispensary applicants in other East Bay cities in recent years, including tax receipts, and pledges to contribute to local charitable causes are notoriously rosy and often unreliable.