- Posted by Laura Croft, Esq
- On October 15, 2016
- Amoeba Music, Berkeley; MMRSA; MCRSA, breaking, business, California, cannabis, dispensary permit, licensing, Music and marijuana;
Amoeba Music opened their flagship music store in 1990 at the height of music sales. Amoeba quickly added stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles. For years, the stores thrived; however, with the rise of iPods and now iPhones and other digital media, the demand for physical media plummeted. As the relevance of physical media dried up, Amoeba and its competitors also felt the loss as their sales crashed. The idea that a surging cannabis industry could seamlessly collide with a shattered music industry, to create a synergistic relationship that would propel both sides in a positive direction, came to light.
The natural relationship between music and cannabis prompted the first medical cannabis and Amoeba Music relationship, in the San Francisco-Haight Street store. Green Evaluation is located on the second floor of the Amoeba on Haight Street, providing medical marijuana evaluations, screening, education, and approval letters for patients who use marijuana as medicine.
Amoeba Music in Berkeley followed suit last year, seeking the ever-illusive and highly coveted Berkeley dispensary permit, although Amoeblog notes that for over four years Amoeba Music Berkeley was “quietly and tirelessly fighting to expand into the area of compassionate care.”
A team at Amoeba and the Berkeley Compassionate Care Center group joined forces petitioning Berkeley City Planning for a dispensary permit. On September 20, 2016, Amoeba Music was granted permission to open the in-house marijuana dispensary, which will be called BC3, for Berkeley Compassionate Care Collective.
Under Amoeba’s dispensary permit, the Telegraph Avenue store plans to undergo a renovation to add a dispensary in what is now the jazz room, a 3,000-square-foot space that will sell a wide variety of products, and also serve to educate the public about uses and benefits of medical marijuana.
Amoeba went up against five other groups seeking the city permit. After Berkeley residents voted in 2010 to increase the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in town from three to four with Measure T, it took the City Council six years to approve the first new one, iCann Health Center on May 10, 2016. Two months later, the council approved two additional dispensaries, including BC3 and The Apothecarium.
Adding another two dispensaries will certainly also add to the city’s repository. In 2014, the existing three dispensaries contributed $638,938 in taxes, according to a staff report. The three dispensaries added in the last six months will undoubtedly generate several hundred thousand dollars in taxes annually.
Amoeba’s track record as a successful retailer and positive contributor to the community likely gave it a leg up with the permitting planners. The permit did not come cheap. Amoeba Music is estimated to have already paid approximately $100,000 just for applying for the license to sell.
If this unique business partnership proves successful, it will undoubtedly prompt other ailing business to follow suit. Although Berkeley has reached its dispensary capacity and will unlikely entertain any applications to open a cannabis dispensary in the near future, with the rapidly changing California cannabis atmosphere, things could move faster than they have in the past.
Contact CannaBusinessLaw for expert assistance in compliance with cannabis licensing, permitting and the application process relating to commercial cannabis in California.