Folsom Blvd. pot shop moving

A medical marijuana dispensary is swapping a controversial East Sacramento location for a new spot in an industrial zone following opposition from neighbors.

The Healing Center or "THC" stopped operating at 3257 Folsom Blvd. on Friday, Feb. 11. A consultant for the dispensary, which has also done business as CC 101, notified the city it will be moving to 6435 Florin Perkins Road.

City staff got the news an hour before a meeting between the East Sacramento Improvement Association and Sacramento City Councilman Steve Cohn, city Zoning Administrator Joy Patterson and city Revenue Division Manager Brad Wasson. At the meeting, the association’s board members let city representatives know they opposed the shop, according to city staff and the association.

"They were facing denial of their permit," Cohn said. "They made a wise decision and chose to pick another location."

Dispensaries had to turn in permit applications by Feb. 7 under new city regulations.

Neighboring business and property owners and area residents had already contacted the city to question the Folsom Boulevard dispensary’s legality and express concerns over its impact. The dispensary’s owner, Ted Smith, would have to prove the shop had been operating there by Oct. 26 and fight continued opposition to the permit request.

The dispensary’s permit application hadn’t been evaluated by that time. The city didn’t order a closure, Patterson said Friday.

The dispensary’s marketing consultant, Justin Karapetyan, who previously identified himself as one of its owners, decided to close the dispensary rather than continue fighting neighbors.

"It was being presented to me that the neighborhood is having some sort of an uprising. They do not want me there," Karapetyan said. "I asked if I did shut my doors if they would allow me to move. They granted me an OK."

He expects to open the new shop within about two weeks.

The City Council passed the city’s first ordinance regulating the shops in November in response to an expansion of dispensaries. Under the ordinance, only 39 dispensaries that registered with the city by August 2009 could apply. City staff are now processing applications from 35 dispensaries that met the deadline.

The Folsom Boulevard dispensary is apparently the only one that was opposed by neighbors, Patterson said.

The city now requires the dispensaries to be located in six types of commercial or industrial zones. Dispensaries located in the correct zones by Oct. 26 could apply for special permits by Feb. 7.

The dispensaries are all applying for discretionary land use permits that will be decided on a case-by-case basis after going through a public hearing process. During those hearings, people can voice support or opposition to individual dispensaries.

At that time, neighbors may express concerns about any shops that don’t meet limitations to be 300 feet from residential uses or zones; 600 feet from sensitive uses like a church, school or daycare; and 1,000 feet from each other, Patterson said.

THC amended its permit application with the Florin Perkins Road location, Patterson said.

Seven of the 39 dispensaries – including Smith’s – were told they needed to move. Three stayed put and will now have to apply to rezone their property to a zone where such use is allowed.

One closed. Two others have moved: R & R Coffee and Collective moved from 8701 Center Parkway to a general commercial zone at 75 Quinta Court and Sacsterdam University moved from 1009 1/2 Ninth St. to a heavy commercial zone at 315 N. 10th St., she said.

Neighbors who opposed the Folsom Boulevard dispensary are happy the shop moved, said Paul Jorjorian, who owns buildings across the street.

"I think the rest of the merchants are quite pleased," he said. "I think maybe (the dispensary owners) saw the writing on the wall."


Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt. 

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