Pubdate: Sat, 23 Jul 2011
Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Lee Enterprises
Author: Chantal M. Lovell


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

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.

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

Selection criteria

Experience, business and finance plan, records management, supply
management, security and a Napa service focus. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.