Weekly Cannabis Roundup December 3

December 3, 2021 08:00 am ET

A cannabis-less dispensary opened its doors at a San Francisco mall, a Massachusetts retailer took legal action against its home city over extreme “community impact fees,” and a string of robberies across various Bay Area dispensaries have left the owners enraged at police inaction.

Let’s dive into this week’s cannanews.

San Francisco Mall Welcomes a Cannabis-less Dispensary 

This isn’t the first time the Westfield Mall has dipped its toes into cannabis. Back in 2017, the mall’s owner had talks with a high-end weed chocolatier that was hoping to set up shop in the mall. When mall management firmly nixed the idea, many assumed a cannabis shop would never find its way back inside Westfield. So, how did Joy Reserve manage to secure its spot in the mall?

For one, there isn’t any actual cannabis at Joy Reserve’s brick-and-mortar location. Customers will still be able to browse various products, but all the boxes they see will be completely empty. In order to purchase cannabis, customers will have to first set up an account on the cannabis delivery service IHeartJane. From there they will be able to purchase items from the shop and have them delivered to a location just outside the mall.

While the purchasing process may seem odd, Joy Reserve’s approach allows it to operate with a retailer non-storefront license. Thanks to that special license, Joy Reserve can (kinda) sell cannabis inside the mall. Are cannabis-less dispensaries the best way to get around the current legal regulations? Only time, but the industry will be closely watching Joy Reserve’s operations.

Massachusetts Cannabis Retailer Sues City Over Fees

Massachusetts cannabis retailer Happy Valley has filed a lawsuit against the city of Gloucester and its outgoing Mayor. The retailer claims that the city has been asking for “community impact fees” equalling 3% of total gross sales on top of charitable donations. In addition to those fees, the city has also charged Happy Valley three separate yearly fees for their retail, growing, and processing units.  

According to The Salem News, Happy Valley believes that the fines are excessive and bad for business—and it’s not the only company making these claims either. Cannabis business owners from all across the state have shared similar frustrations with how the industry has essentially become “pay to play.”

Under these conditions, small business owners are the most disadvantaged. The outcome of the case will play a role in crafting the future of dispensary regulation.

Owners of Robbed Dispensaries in CA Struggle To Get Police Support

In just the last two weeks, a total of 25 cannabis businesses have been robbed across Oakland, California. The burglaries have resulted in over $5 million in total damages. Surprisingly, though, it is the police rather than the thieves that are the targets of outrage. According to cannabis shop owners, a culture of police inaction is what has emboldened criminals to commit these burglaries.

Based on accounts from cannabis dispensary owners, it’s not uncommon for police to only show up if they feel like it—if at all. Police have also been accused of knowingly allowing the crimes to go unreported and unsolved. In one case, an officer was even recorded simply standing by as a cannabis store was robbed by unarmed thieves.

As part of one of Oakland’s highest-taxed industries, cannabis businesses are upset about not getting any police support in return—especially since luxury shops around the Bay Area have had no issues getting the police to assist with their break-ins.

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