Who Wants To Open Berkeley's Next MMJ Dispensary? These Folks.


Several long-time figures in the Bay Area cannabis industry have applied to win the City of Berkeley's highly coveted new, fourth medical cannabis dispensary permit.

Berkeley is in the process of expanding its number of permitted dispensaries from three to four, and yesterday the city released a list of groups who applied to run that fourth club. Many are from nearby dispensaries from all across the Bay Area. Here’s a look at the applicants.

1. The Apothecarium Berkeley
2578 Shattuck Ave.
A group that runs the very classy Apothecarium in San Francisco’s Castro district is taking a shot at an East Bay location. The dispensary would be not-for-profit, with no dividends, and all excess revenue given to charity or remain in corporation. TAB expects to have 1,830 regular patients and their SF location has 4,000 patients from the East Bay. Projects revenues of $2,688,711 in first year, $5,683,938 in year two and $8,204,975 in year three.

2. Berkeley Innovative Health Group, Inc
1229 San Pablo Ave.
Backed by an Arizona married couple, Berkeley Innovative Health Group’s principle Soufyan Abou Ahmed is the executive director The Garden of Eden, one of two licensed dispensaries in Hayward.

3. Berkeley Compassionate Care Center
2465 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley Compassionate Care Center is the project of David Prinz of Berkeley, and will be a solar-powered union shop focusing on local hires, community reinvestment.


4. CRAFT – Citizens Research Alliance For Therapeutics
2067 University Ave.
CRAFT is a popular, high-grade medical cannabis delivery service in the East Bay, co-founded in 2012 and serving 4,000 members a year.CEO Alix Hadley also co-founded a growers collective in Mendocino county, Cannabis Conservatory Collective. CRAFT’s general manager used to be a purchasing manager at Harborside.

5. Releaf Alternative Healing
1800 San Pablo Ave.
The folks behind Vallejo’s Releaf Alternative Healing are looking south toward Berkeley. Principals Maurice Solis and Anh Nguyen-Solis have served 11,000 in Vallejo.

6. Community Partnership 4 Health
1941 A University Ave.
The Bay Area principals of Community Partnership 4 Health include Berkeley Medical Cannabis Commission member Charles Pappas. Pappas ran the Divinity Tree in San Francisco, which closed after federal prosecutors threatened the landlord with property forfeiture as part of the 2011 crackdown.

7. Berkeley Alternative Medicine
1601 University Ave.
Principals Max Kennedy and Anthony Burke of the proposed Berkeley Alternative Medicine have lived in Berkeley for 25 years and worked in the industry for ten years.

8. Forty Acres
1820 San Pablo Ave.
Principal Christopher Michael Smith has run the unlicensed Berkeley dispensary 40 Acres for several years, despite city efforts to shutter the facility, which has received neighborhood nuisance complaints. Smith also sued the City of Berkeley in April alleging that medical cannabis distribution in Berkeley — and the permit selection process — is racially biased and monopolistic. 40 Acres states that it has an annual membership of 5,000 people.

9. The Cannabis Center
1436 University Ave.
The Cannabis Center’s principal, Ryan Monsanto, is a former managing partner with Hercules Health Center, which is unionized through the United Food Commercial Workers Local 5. Multiple former Hercules Health Center staffers are part of The Cannabis Center.

10. BLUM boutique Berkeley Women’s Cannabis Alliance
2067 University Ave.
Principal Salwa Ibrahim is Oaksterdam founder Rich Lee’s former assistant and current operator of the well-regarded BLUM dispensary in Oakland. BLUM boutique Berkeley wants to specialize in rare and exotic strains not available elsewhere.

11. iCann Health Center
3243 Sacramento St.
Principal Frances Sue Taylor is an Oakland resident, mother, and grandmother who has directed senior outreach for Harborside Health Center, and hopes to launch a dispensary with her son.

Applicants will go through a four-stage, ranked, points-based selection process that includes a medical marijuana aptitude test and community input.