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The Dirt on The Dispensaries Part 2

Posted by John Hathorn on August 13, 2021
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434 26th Street Exterior

While marijuana is legal in California, Santa Monica residents need to venture outside their neighborhoods to obtain the stuff…. for now.

After the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2017, only 2 cannabis companies were able to apply for licenses. After ranking 2nd out of 21 applicants, CPC Compassion Inc. has secured a location at 925 Wilshire Blvd. They were able to apply for a Conditional Use Permit.

If the permit is granted and their construction and design plans approved, we could see our very first Santa Monica dispensary open its doors as soon as December. However, unlike almost every other dispensary in LA, it will not be selling marijuana for recreational use.

According to City of Santa Monica Finance Department’s website, their current statement about commercial cannabis reads as follows: The City of Santa Monica currently allows for Medicinal Cannabis Retail (with limited on-site cultivation) and Light Manufacturing operations (i.e. assembly type operations requiring no volatile solvents). Other forms of medicinal cannabis commercial activities are currently not allowed, such as manufacturing, testing, distribution, and stand-alone commercial cultivation. The city currently prohibits adult use (aka recreational) cannabis commercial activities of any kind.

In 2020, California made over $1 BILLION in tax revenue generated by recreational marijuana. With 100k residents in our city and 9 million tourists annually, you’d think the potential of major tax revenue from cannabis sales would change their tune. So, what gives man?

What’s harshing the high is Santa Monica’s Cannabis Ordinance. Passed by the City Council in 2017, the ordinance only allows for two medical dispensaries to do business, no recreational, in a heavily defined area of the city. It was then extended until 2023 by a vote in February 2020.

According to attorney Michael Chernis, an expert in state and federal cannabis laws, the lack of legal marijuana is due to a mix of idiosyncratic bureaucracy and the issue being low on the city council’s priorities list. “It’s frustrating for those of us in the industry who would like to see patient access. But it’s a little bit of a political hot potato, and also there is a lot happening in Santa Monica … so it’s just not the burning issue we’d like it to be,” Chernis specializes in guiding clients through the application process and represented two companies looking to open dispensaries in Santa Monica. He characterizes Santa Monica’s vibe as “very deliberate, very professional.”

While we won’t have recreational retail for a while, the team behind CPC Compassion acknowledges that there will be difficulties that come with its “medical only” designation but is excited to be the first dispensary to open in Santa Monica’s coveted market.

“Finding providers that can give recommendation letters is not required by 99 percent of all the dispensaries here, so it is going to be a challenge for patients to find recommendation letters to then come use our dispensary,” said Dr. Paul Song, chief medical officer at CPC Compassion’s parent company Calyx Peak and a 14-year resident of Santa Monica.

“We’re targeting a different user than the recreational user. We’re targeting people that maybe have difficulty sleeping and have been taking Ambien far longer than they should be or people that have chronic joint pain,” said Song. “We still think there’s a real market for people that are suffering but don’t necessarily want to go light up a jay; they may want to take either an edible or apply a cream.” With a lease agreement in place and a hefty Conditional Use Permit application fee of $19,257.25 filed, CPC is awaiting Planning Commission review.

DID YOU KNOW House sales are booming in almost every major economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, forging the broadest rally for more than two decades, and reviving economists’ concerns over potential threats to financial stability. Of the 40 countries covered by OECD data, just three experienced real-terms house price falls in the first three months of this year — the smallest proportion since the data series began in 2000. (FT)

DID YOU KNOW Properties in advanced economies were about 10% overvalued compared to long-term trends. That makes this boom one of the biggest since 1900, although nowhere near as big as the run-up to the financial crisis. Mortgage growth was driven largely by people with strong financial positions, and across most advanced countries households were less indebted than before the financial crisis, suggesting a lower risk that the situation would follow the same path with a wave of defaults and fire sales.
(Oxford Economics, Yahoo)

DID YOU KNOW Major cities, including San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and New York, have enacted or proposed measures to ban or discourage the use of natural gas in new homes and buildings, 2 years after Berkeley, Calif., passed the first such prohibition in the U.S. in 2019. The efforts have sparked a backlash, prompting some states to make gas bans illegal. 42% of residential energy consumption comes from natural gas. The US population has grown almost 60% in the past 50 years… it’s estimated the US population will increase by 20% by 2050 and reducing CO2 omissions has to factor this in.  (

In your 90402 Real Estate news…

Six new listing came on the market-

434 26th Street – I just listed this lot value property for $3,195,000. The current house is nearly 4,000 sqft on an almost 8,700 sqft lot. It has a lot of character and is a good candidate for remodel or to build new (it isn’t on the historic inventory list which should make the permit process easier).

835 San Vicente Blvd– Listed for $23,950,000. Brand new construction- over 12,000 sqft (inclusive of a detached pool house) on a large 20,800 sqft lot. Set way back from San Vicente, property features a infinity edge pool, two elevators, golf simulator, auto-gallery garage &  “wellness suite”, complete with a Himalayan salt wall, aromatherapy steam shower & cedar sauna with plunge pool. Super cool house. Fully priced imo and will be interesting to see what it sells for.

534 14th Street– Listed for $4,875,000. Built in 1993, almost 5,000 sqft- all above ground. Features a master suite downstairs in addition upstairs. Quirky floor-plan and in need of updating but great scale.

306 22nd Street– Listed for $3,450,000. Single-story mid-century modern on a 7,500 sqft lot. Livable lot value with some character. Might be tough to redevelop as the lot is sloped in 2 directions.

218 Alta Avenue– Listed for $9,000,000. This was on the market in 2019 being offered pre-completion for $7,500,000. No Buyer decided to take over the project, so the completed  Wildly styled architectural style home with  an unconventional floorplan. Great for a couple or small family. Just under 5,000 sqft. Great view from the rooftop balcony.

520 17th Street– Listed for $3,995,000. Charming 1927 Spanish, ready for expanding or updating, on a 7,500 sqft lot. Fully priced and will set a new record for this genre if it sells close to asking.

Seven properties went into escrow-

333 16th Street– Listed for $3,450,000.

433 24th Street– Listed for $3,650,000. (last week this was active)

423 Palisades Avenue– Listed for $4,495,000.

553 12th Street– Listed for $4,995,000.

521 20th Street– Listed for $5,698,000.

201 25th Street– Listed for $2,395,000.

315 15th Street– Listed for $4,999,999.

Four listings sold-

259 Mabery Road– Sold for $5,100,000. I listed this house for $4,495,000 with the expectation that we would receive multiple offers. Our Seller followed my advice to the letter when preparing the house for sale and the market reacted as predicted. Happy clients all around.

533 18th Street – My partner Charles Pence sold this one for $5,600,000.

515 24th Street– Sold for $7,285,410. Originally listed at $7,295,000.

310 20th Street– Sold for $3,575,000. Originally listed at $3,395,000.

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