In June, a marijuana shop opened in Union City in the San Francisco Bay Area. Typically, a cannabis store debut isn’t news in this state.
But this one, run by Grupo Flor, a vertically integrated operator based in Salinas, is located in a prime spot: a shopping center called Union Landing that features a Walmart, a Best Buy, a Burlington Coat Factory and more.
That’s a dramatic shift. Not long ago, most cities would force cannabis retailers into less desirable industrial zones, as if the marijuana industry represented an eyesore.
What it exemplifies to Grupo Flor CEO Gavin Kogan is a wider metamorphosis in California reflecting scores of new marijuana markets and business opportunities for cultivators, manufacturers, retailers, testing labs and other MJ businesses around the state.
Several factors are driving this:
Stigmas surrounding marijuana continue to recede across California and the nation as more states legalize recreational and medical cannabis.
California cities and counties now acknowledge the economic benefits of legal cannabis.
Those same local governments must grapple with budget shortfalls related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“There are not only new communities embracing cannabis, but (they’re) embracing it in their retail zones,” Kogan said.