San Leandro City Council voted last Monday to select Davis Street Wellness Center as the recipient of the city’s second medical marijuana dispensary.
The long night of debate brought an end to an even longer two-year application and vetting process that started with 15 applicants. With the support of current employees and local community, Dr. John Oram, president and CEO of DSWC, gave a hard-hitting, 10-minute presentation that highlighted several inconsistencies with the other applicants, namely BLUM’s application in regard to its finances and merger with Newport Beach–based Terra Tech Corporation.
In a 5-to-2 vote, the Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter and City Council ultimately determined DSWC was the best fit for the city, as they were “the hometown team” and would generously give back to the community in the greatest capacity; DSWC proposed a 9% volunteered tax, almost double that of any competitor, as well as several community benefit programs. For the community benefit component, DSWC will work in conjunction with Davis Street Family Resource Center, a long-time safety net for the San Leandro community that can best allocate funds and work with patients for the greatest impact.
DSWC plans to offer a sliding fee scale discount off the price of medication based on a patient’s income as determined by the poverty guidelines—a first-of-its-kind offer for a medical dispensary. Dr. Oram stated, “Due to vertical integration, my organization is maturing and is reaching capacities of scale. Therefore we are able to pass those efficiencies on into the retail establishment and pass the savings onto the city.” Using a model that is more in line with a traditional medical clinic will provide those in need a significant discount for their medicine.
DSWC will share the city’s patrons with Harborside San Leandro, which was awarded the first permit back in September 2015, but has yet to open its doors. With a projected opening date six months from now, DSWC will work with the city to finalize the process and open its doors in a time-sensitive manner so that patients can have convenient, quality medicine in San Leandro that much sooner.