Interest is high in the first dispensary to open in Hollister city limits.
Genesis Marketplace opened four weeks ago at 1802 Shelton Drive, and on a recent Thursday morning, a steady flow of customers visited the business to check out its variety of cannabis edibles, tinctures, flowers and more.
General manager Chris Joynt said customers are “jazzed” about having a dispensary nearby without having to drive dozens of miles to the next closest shop.
“The community is really excited,” he said. “It’s been wonderful to see the community react so positive.”
And it’s not just Hollister residents shopping at the dispensary. Joynt said Genesis has welcomed customers from as far away as Santa Cruz.
Genesis Marketplace operates in the same Shelton Drive facility as Genesis Grow Corp., which cultivates, distributes and packages cannabis products. The majority owners of Genesis Marketplace and Genesis Grow are Moshe Sarid and Dmitry Muzychuk of Los Angeles, and operates under its parent company, Higher Level, in Seaside.
The dispensary employs about 12 people, many of whom are from Hollister, with wages averaging about $15 an hour.
Joynt said Genesis uses the term “marketplace” to describe its business as a way to reflect its open, friendly atmosphere. Too often, he said, the word “dispensary” has a stigma attached to it.
“We want everyone to live a happy, healthy life,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
On June 3, the Hollister City Council voted to allow recreational cannabis to be sold in the city, adopting a new ordinance that removed the word “medical.”
City staff had argued that with California’s Adult Use Marijuana Act taking effect, there was no difference in medical and recreational sales. In addition, not allowing recreational sales would drive down business for the two dispensaries approved by the city.
Another dispensary, Monterey Bay Alternative Medicine, was approved by the city in 2017 to open at 773 San Felipe Road. It is unknown when it will be operational, as the owners could not be reached. Only two dispensaries within city limits are permitted.
Joynt said working with the city has been “fantastic.”
“There’s a really great support system in the city for a safe access point,” he said. “We’re trying to show the city how it’s done right. It’s OK to support cannabis businesses.”
At an April 22 council meeting, City Manager Bill Avera told the council that the city was “breaking even” on cannabis revenues. Maria Mendez, cannabis affairs manager for the city, previously estimated that with recreational and medical sales, the city could collect $5.5 million annually in fees, but with just medical sales, the projected revenue would be $1.375 million.
The City of Hollister imposes a 5 percent tax on gross sales for dispensaries. In addition, the state collects a 15 percent excise tax from dispensaries, as well as a 7.25 percent sales tax.
Taxes are included in all advertised prices for Genesis’ products, Joynt said.
According to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, the state excise tax generated $74.2 million from April through June. The sales tax totaled $47.4 million in the same period.
The plan is to continue to integrate Genesis into the community, Joynt said. A grand opening celebration is scheduled later in September, and Genesis plans on sponsoring events such as 5K runs.
“We want to invest back in this community,” Joynt said.
Genesis Marketplace has been scoring high ratings on Weedmaps, a website that lists menus and other information for dispensaries across the country.
User “Danielboon” recommended Genesis:
“Lived in Hollister my whole life, been to a lot of dispensaries outside of town, and I am extremely happy our little town finally has a legit, friendly, dispensary. Not only is the staff knowledgeable and easy to talk to, but the products they sell are just as great.”
Genesis Marketplace is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit genesis-marketplace.com or call (831) 216-5459.