Business / Economy

Higher Level of Care wins permit for cannabis dispensary

City anticipates it will open in spring.
Dispensary manager Chris Joynt (center) shows Hollister Council members Marty Richman and Carol Lenoir where the dispensary will be located. Photo by John Chadwell.
Chris Joynt shows Vice Mayor Marty Richman the layout of the new dispensary on a laptop. Photo by John Chadwell.
Massive reverse osmosis system provides water to numerous growing rooms, where cannabis plants will grow from seedlings to flowering plants to be harvested. Photo by John Chadwell.
Massive reverse osmosis system provides water to numerous growing rooms, where cannabis plants will grow from seedlings to flowering plants to be harvested. Photo by John Chadwell.
One side of the more than 100,000 square foot building will be transformed into a two-story growing facility. Photo by John Chadwell.
The other side of the building is ready to begin receiving seedling plants in early March. Photo by John Chadwell.
Carl Saling, whose company Purity Cannabis is also located in the building, shows a $5,000 bottle of cannabis oil. Photo by John Chadwell.

At its Feb. 19 meeting, the Hollister City Council approved a use permit and development agreement for Higher Level of Care to operate a medical cannabis dispensary at 1802 Shelton Drive. The company has locations in Castroville and Salinas, with another scheduled to open in Santa Cruz.

Hollister’s Cannabis Affairs Manager Maria Mendez told the City Council that Higher Level of Care had met all requirements for approval. She said the company had already received council approval for cultivation, manufacturing and distribution use permits at the same location.

“The existing building is roughly 76,000 square feet and the dispensary will occupy about 2,000 square feet,” Mendez said. “The hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. The applicant is assuming they can take at least 20 patients a day.”

Vice Mayor Marty Richman asked if the company had announced when it will open for business.

Mendez said it was her understanding that it will open in the spring.

The resolution passed unanimously without further comment.

The process for selecting dispensaries began in December 2016 when the Hollister City Council adopted an ordinance that authorized the issuance of permits to medical cannabis facilities. The city limited the number of dispensaries to two.

Originally, Purple Cross Rx and Monterey Bay Alternative Medicine were chosen to operate dispensaries in city limits. But Purple Cross hit a snag.

“Purple Cross Rx failed to meet crucial conditions for final approval and was eliminated from the process, leaving an empty spot,” Mendez told BenitoLink. “Back in August of last year, the City Council opened the application period for that second dispensary and that same year staff brought the applicants before City Council recommending Higher Level of Care for approval.”

Though both approved dispensary operators are still setting up shop, the city has been collecting money from other players in the budding cannabis industry. Revenue since 2016 has amounted to $689,656, mostly in fees, according to City Manager Bill Avera. He said that in the last two fiscal years, the two companies in operation, Hollister Holistics and Agripharma Extraction LLC (formerly Zyte oil LLC), have paid more than $337,325 in fees and sales taxes.

Other related BenitoLink articles:

Hollister City Council tables changes to cannabis ordinance

Hollister City Council Approves Medical Cannabis Dispensary

Hollister City Council approves amendment to ordinance to allow adult-use in cannabis supply chain, excluding dispensaries

One cannabis dispensary approved, as are multiple manufacturing, distribution, lab facilities

City Council votes no, then yes on cannabis ordinance


John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years' experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]