Merced planning commission approves four marijuana dispensaries

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Four dispensaries are approved to come to Merced, and some could open their doors by the end of the year:
  1. Blue Fire - to be located along Olive Avenue

  2. The Green Door - to be located along Main Street

  3. Manzanita - to be located on the 1500 block of 18th Street

  4. The Harvest of Merced - to be located inside an old warehouse on 15th Street

"They're going to hire local people, they're going to use local contractors, they're going to inject money into the local community," City Development Services Scott McBride said.

The approval comes after two nights of public hearings.

All four of the businesses plan to have extensive video and alarm security systems, with hired security during operating hours. City officials say during the meeting, however, an applicant named Medallion Wellness spoke against the 4th highest ranked dispensary, The Harvest of Merced, because of its location.

"They are concerned that the location for Harvest of Merced might be too close to a school, so they sent some information for the commission to consider. They did review it, they did respond to questions and ultimately voted to review the application," McBride said.

The Merced County Office of Education did confirm there is an elementary school site near potential dispensary site on 15th Street.

The owner of the fifth highest ranked applicant, Medallion Wellness, stated in an email to Action News that the company plans to do their own independent investigation before they decide to appeal the planning commission's approval of the fourth dispensary, The Harvest of Merced.

Other applicants are not too happy with the winners.

Charles Veilleux, the owner of the Stone Bowl, was hoping to open a medicinal dispensary. It cost him about $10,000 to apply. He was under the impression local business owners would get additional points but said the dispensaries chosen are all from out of the area.

"That to me seems like they're showing favoritism how much many can you put into the community, rather than supporting local businesses that have been struggling to make a living," said Veilleux.

People can appeal any of the four choices before Thursday.

If there is an appeal, there will be hearing with the city council within 30 days, and councilmembers will ultimately make the final decision.

City officials said if there aren't any appeals, the city will issue a certificate and businesses can start the process for state licensing.
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