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Cotati medical pot club wants city to lift customer limit

By JEREMY HAY

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A Cotati medical marijuana dispensary is asking the city to lift customer caps that were put in place when it opened in 2010.

“It’s probably the only business in Sonoma County, except for other dispensaries, where there’s a limit on the number of customers,” said Greg Lucas, owner of Mercy Wellness.

The dispensary, the only one in Cotati, is allowed 1,000 customers a month under the conditions of its use permit.

Mercy Wellness hasn’t “come close” to hitting that limit, Lucas said, but keeping track of the customer count is an accounting headache. Also, the business needs the leeway to expand if necessary, because he envisions eventually adding health services such as yoga and massage.

Lucas has also asked the city to increase the permitted dispensary size to 3,500 square feet from 1,000 square feet so he can add an office and a restroom. He also wants to install more signage — he’s now allowed six square feet — and to keep 30 pounds of marijuana in stock, up from 15 pounds.

To date, city officials have been friendly to all but one element of his application. Planning commissioners approved it 5-0 but followed a staff recommendation and denied Lucas’s request for permission to sell smoking equipment.

“They were afraid of mass crowds out in front and that’s never happened,” Lucas said. “Now we’ve been there two years and we know what to expect.”

The application is expected to go before the City Council on March 28.

City Manager Dianne Thompson this week said, “I think that Greg Lucas has been running a good operation and we haven’t had any issues.”

Mercy Wellness draws its customers mostly from mid- and south Sonoma County and has become a solid presence in the local industry, medical marijuana advocates said.

“They have a fine reputation. I’ve only heard good things about them,” said Kumari Sivadas, of the Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana, who helped write Cotati’s dispensary ordinance.

“Every time I go in there I’m really impressed with how they’re conforming to the regulations,” she said.

The dispensary is one of 11 in the county. Three others are in cities: two in Santa Rosa and one in Sebastopol. The county’s other six cities prohibit dispensaries. Seven dispensaries are located in unincorporated areas of the county, which in February set a limit of nine.

Both Santa Rosa dispensaries have caps in place of 500 customers a month. In the county, only Riverside Wellness in Guerneville has a limit, of 300 customers a month.





6 Responses to “Cotati medical pot club wants city to lift customer limit”

  1. Steveguy says:

    @ Dave Madigan, While I agree with your idea of a business, I would think pizza, burritos and burgers, with you choices for the ‘dessert’.

  2. Reality Check says:

    The media misses the rich irony here. Amidst all the medical-patient lingo, and support for loosening drug laws by California liberals, is the cold reality that marijuana “dispensaries” are bad news for a city, any city. Even the most liberal ones would prefer to have them go away.

    Media rhetoric is at odds with reality. Why? The PD carries on, ignoring the illogic of its pretense that “medical marijuana” is about something medicinal, while city leaders respond to them as if they threaten any neighborhood in which they reside. So, reluctantly, they tolerate a few as they legally must, and restrict as much as they legally can.

    California voters got what they wanted, I guess. They just don’t want it in their neighborhood.

  3. Brian Brown says:

    Perhaps the city should allow the dispensary to remain open but set the cap to 0. :-D

  4. Dave Madigan says:

    I want to move in next door and sell twinkies and ho-hos and ding dongs. I’ll call it “Munchy Heaven”. It’s a sure thing!

  5. John Lennon says:

    Drug dealers should be throw in jail, not given more customers

  6. Reality Check says:

    Given the article’s verbiage about “medical dispensary,” I’m surprised the owner referred to his customers as customers, not as “patients.”

    Goodness gracious, we have patients in need of medicinal marijuana. How could Cotati prevent these sick people from their needed medicine?

    There’s a word for what Santa Rosa and Cotati are doing. This is rationing. Where’s the Occupy Movement when they’re needed?