ATASCADERO — Until relatively recently Megan Souza, the Megan of Megan’s Organic Market, was able to deliver cannabis countywide in a legal mobile dispensary business, but as rules changed with California’s Proposition 96 she turned to brick and mortar.
Originally going to great lengths in hopes of becoming one of the two licensees allowed to operate a cannabis dispensary in the City of Morro Bay, an expensive process she says cost nearly $100,000, their original location will soon be vacated she said.
“I was shocked, we didn’t get the Morro Bay permit after all of that,” she said, wondering aloud why a large Sacramento-based concern was given more consideration than established locals.
Not to stay hung up on sour grapes, or temporary setbacks, the market is expanding and diversifying.
Souza said they’re staying in the field by turning from only selling the actual cannabis plants — which they’re able to grow locally and legally at two farms along Los Osos Valley — to hemp derived CBD products or hemp-based cannabidiol.
With only trace elements of the psychoactive THC, the CBD products have been regulated differently under state law, and have been popping up in coffee shops and store shelves with great frequency since 2018.
To keep a presence in Morro Bay until another dispensary permit may be considered, Megan’s Organic Market opened a small shop on Morro Bay Boulevard, an easier retail location for foot traffic than on Quintana Road.
In May this year, they had hoped to finalize an expansion northward to Atascadero on Palma Street near Traffic Way but some remodeling is still required.
“We’re looking at the second week of July right now,” Souza explained, noting that while they may not have gotten their Morro Bay location, they were selected by the City of San Luis Obispo and have firm plans in place for an actual cannabis dispensary there in 2020.
“The Atascadero shop is hemp CBD only though,” Souza said. “Atascadero hasn’t allowed any dispensaries, but we’re happy to be there in this form.”
The parlance “adult-use” has replaced the term recreational for most non-medical dispensaries she adds because ironically, many people who are buying marijuana for personal use legally are doing so to treat medical complaints, they’re just not going to a doctor for paperwork.
The Atascadero location will not be adult-use, but one of the allures of CBD has been an association with health practices. The shops resemble health food markets with tinctures and topicals on display.
“We’re expecting the farm bill in 2020 to address edibles and CBD,” she said, “but we’re not allowed to sell food with CBD in it directly right now either.”
Stores had been for a time selling items for direct consumption but that has been deemed unsafe until further regulated, so for the moment, people must buy their own CBD products then decide what manner they want to ingest them.
To recap, Megan’s Organic Market in Morro Bay is currently featuring cannabinoid, the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant in tinctures and other non-food-based products; a business model they plan to expand to Atascadero in mid-July. And in six months they plan to be much busier with an adult-use dispensary in San Luis Obispo, about the same time as regulations might allow a broader range of CBD edibles.
To get an idea of the current style of CBD products on sale, go online to www.meganscbdmarket.com.