The Canopy in the News!
Santa Barbara's only medicinal cannabis dispensary finally open for business
Cannabis dispensary opens in Santa Barbara. by Josephine Von Dohlen
After more than three years of working with both city and state restrictions and regulations, The Canopy Health and Wellness Center, the first state-licensed cannabis dispensary in the city of Santa Barbara, opened Monday on Milpas Street.
Owner Ryan Howe told the News-Press that he chose Santa Barbara because the city is such a healing “Mecca,’ where people come from all over the world for healing.
“I thought what a perfect place to open a shop,” he said.
A bright green floor covers the entire dispensary, welcoming customers as the register and check-in at the front desk and then enter the showroom, a fine, boutique-like room with a variety of showcases, featuring such products as chocolates, flowers, vapes, concentrates, pills and joints, all from various vendors.
“Everything in the store is from California-licensed vendors,” Mr. Howe said.
More edibles and products will be added to the showroom as additional vendors complete the state-licensing process within the next few months.
Setting up a state-licensed marijuana dispensary was not easy. Mr. Howe said the process for him began back in 2014. He handed in the application for the store in April 2015.
“I had to go through every major department within the city to get approval, and then it took a while to win over the local community,” Mr. Howe said.
Reaching out to the community, a campaign, SB.28.80, named after the original ordinance regulating the distribution of medical marijuana in Santa Barbara that has since been replaced, served as an outreach program.
“We started it three years ago, filming an eight-minute video and donating it to the city,” Mr. Howe said. “Through a lot of education and community involvement, we were finally able to win over a majority of the community.”
One of the biggest challenges was figuring out the mechanics of the store.
“The most difficult one was the process that we had to go through with the city to develop all the mechanics of how the store will operate, how it will work, how it will flow,” Mr. Howe said. He wanted to make this dispensary in Santa Barbara, version 2.0.
“We took a really hard look at the type of place that Santa Barbara is, the type of shopper that Santa Barbara has, and really cater the store to that, and that’s what we’ve done.”
As a health and wellness center, the products that The Canopy carries are focused on health for specific ailments.
“I think that is the way we are really appealing to the community because that is really what they community needs,” Mr. Howe said. “Everything we have is tested, certified.”
For Howe, the cannabis industry has influenced his life significantly, and he said he is committed to offering the healing that cannabis provides to many.
“When my mom got sick for the second time with cancer, my family started really researching the different things that maybe weren’t so readily available to treat cancer,” Howe said. “We found that cannabis is the real deal. It really is helping people.” Business is already doing well, Mr. Howe said.
According to city ordinances, in order to purchase anything from The Canopy, people must be 21 years or older, have a letter of recommendation from a doctor, and register in the store 24 hours before shopping.
Mr. Howe said he plans to initiate outreach programs to different groups within the community, to offer the healing affects of cannabis to others by helping them get to the dispensary, get correctl registered, and educated about how to purchase best options for their needs.
“I’m excited to be at the forefront of this new frontier,” Faith Strader, The Canopy’s store manager, told the News-Press.
Ms. Strader has worked alongside Mr. Howe for the past two years, working through regulations and a variety of factors to get Canopy open and running. "It wasn’t easy to get here,” she said.
Kathleen Kaiser & Associates
Kathleen Kaiser & Associates