The Apothecarium cannabis dispensary seeks new location

Joshua Jordan/Senior Staff

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The Apothecarium, a San Francisco cannabis dispensary that received a medical permit from Berkeley City Council in September 2016, is looking for a new address to open its Berkeley location.

The City Council will vote at its Tuesday meeting on whether the Apothecarium will be able to switch locations without undergoing an extensive permitting process again. Currently, the Apothecarium is located at 2578 Shattuck Ave.

The Apothecarium opened its first branch in 2011 in San Francisco’s Castro district. It is known for serving patients with serious medical issues, according to Eliot Dobris, the Apothecarium’s head of marketing and communications.

Dobris stated that the company already has many Berkeley patients and decided to open a Berkeley branch to offer them a more convenient location. In September 2016, City Council awarded the Apothecarium a permit to open a Berkeley location on Shattuck Avenue after a three-year vetting process, according to Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington.

The resolution will likely pass with a unanimous vote, according to Worthington. He said there had been a previous vote to rewrite the process for the Apothecarium and that the vote had passed unanimously.

“(We) didn’t want the Apothecarium to wait until March to know what the process is to relocate,” said Worthington of Tuesday’s agenda item. “(We) want to make it as quick and easy for them to relocate as we can.”

In May 2017, the Apothecarium’s corporate entity, BTHHM Berkeley LLC, filed a lawsuit against the landlord of 2578 Shattuck Ave. for alleged “breach of contract” and “bad faith actions,” according to a previous article in The Daily Californian.

Due to these “unforeseen challenges” at the Apothecarium’s initial planned location, the company is looking at alternatives, Dobris said, but he added that it’s too early to say whether the Apothecarium will indeed switch Berkeley locations. He added that the company is looking for approximately 3,000 square feet of property “in the heart of Berkeley.”

The resolution will ensure that once the Apothecarium decides on a location, the permit will be transferred easily to the new address. Worthington added, however, that the resolution will not allow the company to “go anywhere” it wants — once the Apothecarium finds a new location, it will need to hold a meeting with neighboring businesses and residents, as well as provide plans for security and consumer health.

Campus senior Michelle Chen expressed her enthusiasm that new dispensaries are making plans to open in Berkeley.

“Dispensary lifestyle (is a) really good way of community building for people to meet and talk to each other,” Chen said. “(It’s) such a good way to bond with peers — like a bar with weed, but more chill.”

Rachael Cornejo covers city government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @RachaelCornejo.