Possible Marijuana Dispensary to Open in Dipsea Cafe’s Place
John Siotos, owner of the Dipsea Cafe in Tam Valley, announced on the community website, NextDoor, that the Dipsea cafe would be closing, and in its place, he hopes to open a medical marijuana dispensary on August 15.
In December of last year the County of Marin passed an ordinance allowing up to four licensed marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Marin. They have not received any applications yet, but Thomas Lai, Assistant Director of Community Development Agency in Marin County said, “[We expect] to receive a handful, before the 8/31 deadline.” Siotos, partnered with a number of others, including Bill Koziol, the owner of the Telegraph Health Center marijuana dispensary in Oakland, plans on being one of the applicants.
“When I learned that Marin was giving out permits for medical marijuana dispensaries and that my building was in one of the approved locations, a light went on inside me,” wrote Siotos, “I wanted to help make medical marijuana available to patients in our county who really need it.” His wife who was diagnosed with cancer, used medical marijuana until her death in November of last year, and Siotos says watching medical marijuana alleviate her symptoms, made him “a true believer” in the positive effects it can have.
The application process is fairly rigorous. After the submissions of applications, and a review of them by staff, an advisory committee will review the proposals in November, and conducts public meetings. The final decision will be made by County Administrator Matthew Hymel in early 2017, after hearing the committee’s recommendations.
One major topic of conversation around this topic has been how it might affect traffic in an already busy area. “Traffic is probably the #1 issue for the Tam Junction Area.” Lai said.
Siotos is aware of this issue. “The Dipsea Café location seemed like the perfect place because it is an operating business that already handles hundreds of people per day (up to 1,000 on the weekends) so changing from a café to a dispensary would have a minimal traffic impact on the neighborhood,” he wrote.
Residents of the Tam Valley area have already shared their opinions on NextDoor, but Siotos wanted to give the community an opportunity to share their thoughts and possible concerns about this plan. Two public discussion meetings were already held at the Dipsea Cafe on August 14, and another on August 21. Though Siotos says the Dipsea is in an approved location, Kate Sears, Supervisor of Marin County wanted to be clear. Please understand that no decision has been made approving any medical marijuana dispensary at any location in Southern Marin or anywhere else in unincorporated Marin. There is a rigorous process ahead and opportunity for public comment along the way.” The next opportunity for public comment will be the public meetings held by the advisory committee in November.