Pubdate: Fri, 10 Oct 2014
Source: Calaveras Enterprise (CA)
Copyright: 2014 Calaveras Enterprise
Author: Brett Bunge


San Andreas is now home to one of only three medical marijuana 
dispensaries legally operating in Calaveras County.

Green Gold Cultivators, a medicinal cannabis dispensary, has recently 
become compliant with Calaveras County zoning laws, having begun the 
certification process nearly a year ago. While some dispensaries have 
been faced with the prospect of closing their doors, Green Gold has 
taken root and thrived.

Green Gold owner Tom Calmese has long been involved with the process 
of growing and selling cannabis for medical purposes in the area.

"Before opening Green Gold, I was growing for several dispensaries," 
he said. "But I wanted to do more to help local residents."

Calmese and his partner, both Calaveras residents themselves, were 
concerned with the high costs at other medical dispensaries in the 
county, so they decided to do something about it. The two came to 
their own conclusion that the county in general  and San Andreas, in 
particular  needed a dispensary that cared about patients first 
rather than profit.

"Seeing the high prices inspired us to open a better collective where 
people would pay less," Calmese said. "We're less expensive than 
other collectives in the state."

That dedication to helping others prompted Calmese to take the 
necessary steps to come into compliance with Calaveras' building and 
zoning laws. The process was arduous but completely worth it, Calmese said.

"We wanted to become a legitimate business," he said when asked about 
his reasons. "The main obstacle for compliance was our location. 
Because of that, we moved to a new location in March 2014."

The prior location in San Andreas was not in the proper zoning to 
comply with county code, so Calmese moved the shop down the road and 
up the hill on Angels Road in San Andreas.

After its move, Green Gold had to undergo evaluation and 
certification by every county zoning department, which took nearly a 
year to complete. Despite the hurdles, the county was very reasonable 
and the guidelines were clearly laid out, Calmese said.

Despite the length of the process, it seems to have paid off. The 
dispensary has more customers than ever before, with some patients 
coming from as far away as Bakersfield.

"We continue to increase our patient numbers," said Calmese. "We have 
patients from all over the state. Our total number of registered 
patients is around 2,500."

In order to serve the ever-increasing patient base, Green Gold 
Cultivators grows some of its own cannabis while importing some from 
other growers in the area. A quick glance at the business's database 
reveals a staggering amount of variety among the many types of 
cannabis. In addition, the shop also sells medical equipment to help 
its patients, such as humidifiers and other products common to 
dispensaries and smoke shops.

Calmese encourages anyone in need of help to stop by.

"Anyone can receive a recommendation for medical cannabis from a 
licensed physician," he said. "We're here to help people first and foremost."

Green Gold Cultivators is at 568 Angels Road, San Andreas. Its 
selection of products can be found at
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