All SLO pot shop permits awarded to political donors

March 29, 2019

Heidi Harmon and Helios Dayspring

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

The city of San Luis Obispo has selected the three dispensaries that will receive permits to operate marijuana shops in SLO, all three of which are major donors to the mayor and a pair of councilwomen. [Cal Coast Times]

San Luis Obispo officials posted a notice on the city website Thursday saying the city issued contingent operator permits to Megan’s Organic Market, Natural Healing Center and Elemental Wellness. The permit for Elemental Wellness is contingent upon the dispensary selecting a site for its store within 60 days.

Natural Healing Center is owned by local marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring and currently operates a dispensary in Grover Beach. The permit awarded for the Grover Beach dispensary has been the subject of separate pay-for-play allegations centered around Helios and a former mayor of the South County city.

On Oct. 28, Dayspring and Natural Healing Center hosted a fundraiser for eight local politicians, including San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon, Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson and now-Councilwoman Erica Stewart. Thousands of dollars were donated at the event to candidates for local office, including the trio currently seated on the SLO council.

In her campaign finance disclosure forms, Harmon reported three donations from affiliates of Natural Healing Center, eight from affiliates of Megan’s Organic Market, and one from a minority owner of Elemental Wellness. Harmon also had four donations linked to SLO Cal Roots, one of the applicants that was not awarded a permit.

Stewart received donations from four affiliates of Natural Healing Center, three affiliates of Megan’s Organic Market, a minority owner of Elemental Wellness, and two affiliates of SLO Cal Roots. Christianson accepted donations from three affiliates of both Natural Healing Center and Megan’s Organic Market and a minority owner of Elemental Wellness.

While Harmon, Christianson and Stewart each accepted multiple donations from people affiliated with the marijuana industry, those donors were generally listed on campaign finance forms as retired or under a non-marijuana related occupation. In response to questions about contributions she received in connection with Dayspring’s fundraiser, Harmon amended her 460 financial disclosures, removing multiple donations and all dates of donations, as well as five expenses.

Just weeks after the Nov. 2018 election, Harmon and Christianson voted for a resolution establishing criteria for city staff to rank marijuana shop applicants. Stewart had not yet been sworn into office at the time.

The city council resolution created a points system that appeared to favor applicants who donated money to Harmon, Christianson, and Stewart, particularly Dayspring. For instance, the scoring process awarded points for having a history of supporting local community programs. Dayspring’s Natural Healing Center has put on several community events, including gatherings for children, despite being a pot business.

Megan’s Organic Market, owned by Megan Souza and Eric Powers, has functioned for several years as a local medical marijuana delivery service. After Cal Coast Times reported on the campaign contributions given by marijuana industry affiliates to local elected officials, Megan’s Organic Market owners called Cal Coast Times advertisers and threatened them in an attempt to get them to pull their advertising.

Elemental Wellness is owned by Randolph Dale and Matt Quaglino, who have also operated a local medical pot delivery service.

The three dispensaries SLO city officials selected beat out five other marijuana businesses that applied for a permit to operate a brick and mortar shop in SLO. The five marijuana businesses whose permit applications city officials rejected are: SLO CAL Roots, 805 Beach Breaks, Coastal Retail SLO, Harvest of San Luis Obispo and Hollister SLO.

805 Beach Breaks, which has a Grover Beach pot shop, last year became San Luis Obispo County’s first brick and mortar marijuana dispensary to open under California’s new cannabis legalization program. However, deputies and police officers from multiple agencies raided the Grover Beach marijuana store Thursday morning, and seized marijuana products related to an illegal grow in Los Alamos.

Thursday’s notice on the city website also announced the recipient of one marijuana delivery service permit and one pot micro-business permit. Coastal Delivery SLO received the delivery permit, and Element 7 San Luis Obispo received the micro-business permit.

City officials opted not to issue a permit to one non-storefront business, Lab Tested SLO. All of the permits awarded to the prevailing applicants are contingent upon the business owners passing background checks.


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jimmy_me

What I’m wondering is whether people are corrupt before they run for office, or does being in a position of power somehow magically make you corrupt?


malovato

I agree with DocT. And the problem is? Favors for campaign donations has been going on since… forever. Conservative and Liberal politicians both. This is the backbone of the American political system.


TKG

And that’s a good thing?


malovato

Join the discussion…For better or worse… it’s a fact. Nobody should be surprised.


DocT

Anyone who thinks that corruption in our local politics is a new thing doesn’t understand reality.


Politics, by definition, must be corrupt. Why? Because ALL politics is based several immoral concepts, enforced at the point of a gun. The easiest one to explain is taxation.


Taxation is theft. There is no other way to describe it. We can try to say it’s theft for the common good, theft done to create “equality” or more equitable wealth distribution, but no matter how nicely we try to describe it, it remains theft in every sense of the word. Thus, the very foundation of government is immoral.


Add to that the politics of Envy….which is the driving force behind the vast majority of laws created in the last 30 years and we’re left with a government that has a monopoly on force, is hell-bent of theft, which serves the envious spirit of so many.


The corruption today only seems greater due to the spirit of envy that infects so many today. That was lacking a generation ago and is what leads to such blatant displays of graft, bribery and corruption.


Jealous people want what others have and try to acquire it for themselves.

By contrast, Envious people hate that others have what they don’t and try to take it from others or destroy the object and/or the person who has it, knowing full-well they won’t get it for themselves.


People are envious of the corruption. They still want the power to steal, they just don’t want others to reap the rewards and if they can’t have them, no one can.


The answer is quite simple. Make Cannabis truly legal and toss the regulatory BS designed to steal from those who produce something of value.


LAWMAN1

The’ who has the most CASH wins!!!!!!! same in the wine industry.


shelworth

Well, that’s a shocker………..NOT!


Cmonnow

Well I am sure they will (and absolutely should) document their specific reasons to the public at large why the permits were awarded as such-on the level playing field of pot shop permits. Of course….


Therealtruth

As I had mentioned in a previous post. Helios Dayspring made an arrangement with Megans market. The 30 points awarded for being local was implemented by Helios because he knew he would then be able to find a “local delivery service” that was desperate. Most delivery services were contacted by Helios and 805 beach breaks. I was one of them. Helios bought the old guitar store in Slo where Megan’s market will be located. All they will receive is 10% of profits. Helios gets 90%. Megan’s market was a mediocre at best delivery service and everyone in the industry knows this. They were struggling so they made a deal with the devil. With the recent raids its seems odd that the one person with the most controversy surrounding them is untouched. Everyone understand it runs far deeper then the Grover city council. Why do you think Megan’s market threated you? Good job Cal Coast for striking that nerve, Lol!


TKG

This guy knows what he’s talking about. Thanks Therealtruth. We need to listen to this guy…or gal!


hotdog

And the political corruption goes on, and on…


SLOBIRD

As a native SLObispian I have to say the City has become an infested rat hole with it’s corrupt and Progressive Agendas which is why I have moved out of SLO. Life is much better in a community with ample FREE parking, less homeless panhandling, bars and students, less crime and a community serving its residents and not students, homeless and tourist. Thanks to the Progressives SLO is now like every other college and tourist trap!


DocT

Why is this news?


IronHub

Sarcasm? Or idiocy?