IMPERIAL, Calif. - The first medical cannabis dispensary for the city of Imperial is underway.
After a year of public hearings and permit approvals with city council members, March and Ash are expected to open this early June.
It was a long process for March and Ash, but ultimately they were awarded the only permit in Imperial to sell medicinal cannabis.
"The city council was particular in their planning process with what went into the ordinance, that we would only allow for a medical cannabis business model to be in the city,” said Alexis Chalupnik, management analyst and public information officer for the city of Imperial.
Imperial will be March and Ash's second location. The company has been operating successfully in San Diego, and they plan to do the same here.
"March and Ash are different than other stores, we are huge on education, and big on experience,” said Blake Marchand, CEO of March and Ash.
“All of our vendors will come in here and educate our employees and make sure everybody knows exactly what they are offering to our customers as they come in,” said Marchand.
March and Ash recognize that cannabis use is still viewed as taboo for some residents, but they are hoping to change that by educating the community.
“March and Ash are trying to change the negative stigma of cannabis,” said Marchand.
“If you are not a fan of cannabis we still want to invite you in and learn, what we can do for the community and what we can do for sick people,” he said.
The company has seen a significant increase in customers looking for cannabis as alternative medicine.
“A lot of people are coming in as first-time customers, that thought about cannabis in the wrong way,” said Marchand.
“Older people are coming in for pain creams, products that help them sleep, products that help with their headaches. There are different products across the board," he said.
The City of Imperial estimates March and Ash will bring about one million dollars in revenue, six percent of that will be taxed by the city.
"Our goal is not to generate revenue from this industry. It is truly to provide a service that is needed to Imperial and the region," said Chalupnik.
March and Ash say they want to make a positive impact in the area. They will be donating one percent of their proceeds to different charities in the region.
The company will also be bringing jobs to the area. On May 2, 2019, they will be holding a job fair at their location in Imperial, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. March and Ash are looking to fill at least fifteen positions. For details and inquiries on the job fair, visit the March and Ash Facebook page.