march and ash

File photo: March and Ash representatives (left to right) Matt Rookas, Blake Marchand, CEO, and Spencer Andrews, public affairs director, pose at the newly constructed medicinal marijuana dispensary in Imperial Friday, July 12. The Imperial dispensary resembles the original dispensary located in Mission Valley.

IMPERIAL — The Imperial City Council approved an ordinance and zoning text amendment allowing for an adult-use cannabis dispensary in Imperial at its regular meeting Wednesday, July 1. The amendment applied to March & Ash, Imperial’s local cannabis dispensary.

Before the approval of the amendments, the City of Imperial had an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries, and interim urgency ordinance imposing a temporary moratorium on commercial and industrial cannabis activities, and an ordinance regulating personal indoor cultivation of marijuana — banning outdoor personal cultivation and marijuana use in city facilities.

However, the ordinances were superseded with the approval of the amendments.

As stated in city documents, the purpose of the ordinance and zoning text amendment is to implement the provisions of the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, while also imposing regulations on the use of the land to protect the City’s residents, neighborhoods, and businesses from disproportionate and potentially negative impacts.

According to March and Ash Public Affairs Director, Spencer Andrews, the ordinance and zoning changed very little at the dispensary. However, he said by removing a barrier to entry, the customers will no longer be required to obtain a medical recommendation to shop.

“The only thing that will change is a barrier and cost to entry when it comes to coming to our facility, which is important when it comes to the region and other cities that are coming online with similar adult-use retail dispensaries. It’s important for us to remain competitive in that market. So, operationally, nothing will change,” said Andrews.

March and Ash will continue to serve recreational cannabis and medicinal marijuana to individuals that are 21 and older — something that has been an unofficial position since the facility’s start, according to Andrews.

Andrews said the company voluntarily decided to sell only to 21 and older costumers, something that is still under debate in other cities where dispensaries will sometimes sell to costumers as young as 18.

With a medical card, individuals under 21 are allowed to legally purchase medical marijuana. According to March and Ash, cities with larger populations and several competing dispensaries tend to serve those under 21 with a medical card.

Explained by March and Ash representatives, selling to those 21 and older was a choice derived from regulations on other substances including alcohol and tobacco products. Selling only to those 21 and older eliminates confusion within the community.

“We voluntarily decided as a company that we were only going to sell to 21 and up. That won’t change,” said representatives.

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