Tax Revenues, Site Security Set Stage For Second Dispensary.
Robert Jacob has quietly seen a second medicinal cannabis clinic approved in Sebastopol, but that’s just the way he wants it.
We’re trying to expand a positive dispensary model, and in one and one half years, we’ve had no complaints,” he said.
On April 27, the Sebastopol Planning Commission approved the use permit application for Peace in Medicine to expand its business to a remodeled bowling alley at 950 Gravenstein Highway South, which Jacob hopes to open in the fall. *
The existing dispensary opened in October 2007, and is located in a clean, nondescript building that looks like any other business in the area. There are no questionable characters hanging around the parking lot, due in large part to a no-nonsense code of conduct and a security system that has already proven its worth.
On Wednesday, May 19, PIM was burglarized by several men who allegedly hijacked a car in Santa Rosa the night before.
On Friday evening, May 22, the Santa Rosa Police Department arrested three men in connection to the crimes.
Nothing was taken from the dispensary, and the police agencies involved used video footage provided by PIM’s surveillance cameras to capture the alleged criminals.
People have to remember that other businesses have been burglarized as well, even Taco Bell,” said Sebastopol Police Chief Jeff Weaver, who cited recent bank robberies and even an armored car heist in Sebastopol.
Weaver is ambivalent about whether he approves of the business or not, but looks at the issue from a law-enforcement and business angle.
I know that any retail establishment generates sales tax, and although I don’t know exactly how much PIM has generated, if you’re comfortable with the source, tax revenues are a good thing,” he said.
According to Weaver, one of the fundamental challenges to any medicinal cannabis dispensary is that it violates federal law, but California laws contradict federal law, so dispensaries must walk a fine line in order to avoid problems with police agencies.
The way they have operated has been very good. They have been very good corporate citizens,” Weaver said. “Other than the recent burglary, we’ve had no problems with the way things are going over there.”
Jacob’s approach to his business focuses on the importance of local support and the belief in patient access to alternative medicine, information and education in a safe environment. He sees PIM as a model for facilities implementing the legal dispensation of medical cannabis in compliance with Prop. 215 — the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, approved by 55 percent of the voters — where “customers are treated like the patients they are.”
PIM is designed to look like and is a professional medical office staffed with well-trained, customer service oriented employees such as Kitty Ballard a receptionist at the clinic and former EMT.
Ballard believes in the mission of PIM, and in the validity of cannabis as a legitimate form of medicine.
Cannabis access is part of basic human rights,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of suffering in patients and this is a good, healthy option.”
Former Sebastopol City Manager Dave Brennan was involved early on in the process, but left his position before the final approval. He advised Jacob about the planning process, and sees material benefits to the business in these times of economic downturn.
The benefits to the city are some sales tax revenue and possible ripple effect of bringing customers to the city for other shopping purposes,” he said. “Sebastopol is providing a service to the region by permitting a well run dispensary that serves over 2,000 clients.
Robert appears to manage the facility at a high professional standard and has met all the conditions of their permit,” Brennan added.
Jacob believes that community service is an important part of his mission as a local business leader. He is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and has sponsored, and/or participated in, more than a dozen community events, as well as anonymously sponsoring many local schools, city parks and events for children and young adults.
I wanted to get involved in Sebastopol and do something for Sebastopol,” Jacob said.
In addition to medicinal cannabis, PIM offers a wide variety of classes and services aimed at helping people manage their health.
It offers free Chinese herbal medicine consultations, nutritional consultations, yoga classes, acupuncture, and massage therapy. The facility hosts support groups for patients living with cancer or chronic pain, and provides free meeting space for local nonprofit and environmental groups.
PIM is located in Gravenstein Station at 6771 Sebastopol Ave. in Sebastopol and can be reached at 707-823-4206. Its hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. A calendar of monthly events can be viewed at www.peaceinmedicine.org
Author: David Abbott