Fairfax cannabis store plan sparks local resistance



A new cannabis business proposed in Fairfax faces skepticism from city officials and neighbors.

Element 7 has applied to the city to operate a dispensary and delivery service from a 5,000 square foot building at 930 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

Founded in 2018, the company opened its first store in Fort Bragg. Employee Josh Black told the city the group is not a corporate chain, although part of the company has merged with Southern California-based Glass House Farms ago. three months.

“We are not a national chain and we do not use the premises as a front,” Black said.

Linda Neal, a city planner, said the applicants modified the business proposal based on local feedback, renaming the proposed store “Fairfax Remedy” and changing some details of the building. Element 7 must sell standardized products from approved producers. All products come from state-authorized distributors, the company said.

Robert DiVito, the CEO, said the company had committed more than $ 50,000 to the project.

A notice of public hearing is recorded near the door of the Mana Bowls Acai Cafe in Fairfax on Thursday, September 23, 2021. (Sherry LaVars / Marin Independent Journal)

But some residents are opposed to the idea of ​​the new business moving to town, and said they were concerned that the family-owned acai bowl restaurant Mana Bowls could be evicted from there. A petition circulating against the proposal has collected more than 570 signatures.

The Planning Commission reviewed the proposal on September 16. Over 50 reviewers emailed the committee, all expressing support for the restaurant and opposing Element 7’s request.

“After all we’ve been through, how could the town planning commission or city council even consider allowing a situation where one of our community members is evicted and sees their business and livelihood?” of his family compromised in favor of a chain? This is unacceptable, â€wrote Jessica Quiroz, resident of Fairfax.

Ed Tilton of Fairfax, who lives behind Mana Bowls, said: “Fairfax already has the jar store and the CBD store, I don’t think we need to be Marin’s go-to place for cannabis.”

Commissioners agreed that the proposal did not appear to meet standards of community interest, including being consistent with the city center and avoiding the potential to cause financial harm to other businesses.

Commissioner Norma Fragoso noted that the value of the proposal to the community is reduced with “the loss of a store valued by the community that has a place where people can relaxâ€.

Commissioner Brett Kelly was also concerned that the location and type of business would create more traffic and be less of a gathering place.

Mimi Newton, the committee’s acting chair, noted that Mana Bowls had strong support, but said due process must be followed before the city rejects the request “for reasons that will stand up to scrutiny. meticulous “.

The commission voted 3-2, with Newton and Commissioner Robert Jansen against, asking staff to prepare a resolution denying a recommendation to city council. The point will be taken up at the committee meeting on 20 October.


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