Sunol Cannabis Retail Subject Webpage

This Subject Web page remains Under Construction; Last Updated: July 29, 2018

Double Click on underlined blue hyperlinks to access related websites, web pages, and documents.

Sunol Cannabis-Retail:
Subscriber Responses to Inform Sunol Surveys

Of the (30) respondents below, 63% oppose the proposed Cannabis-Retail on Andrade Road project, while 27% support the project and 10% are either neutral or not sure about the project.  These comments were received between June 14th and June 21st, 2018:Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 6.35.17 AMScreen Shot 2018-07-29 at 6.35.37 AMScreen Shot 2018-07-29 at 6.35.56 AMScreen Shot 2018-07-29 at 6.36.19 AMScreen Shot 2018-07-29 at 6.36.42 AM

Sunol Cannabis-Retail:
Archive of Articles, Documents, and Links

Inform Sunol Volume 1, Number 5
June 14, 2018

Cannabis in Sunol: Grow vs. Retail


Grow Business Proposal is currently on hold but Land Owner with Neighborhood Support Continues Search for Ag Tenant
Chris Allen, Sr., who owns the 10-acre parcel bordered by Andrade Road to the west, Mission Road to the north and the 680 freeway to the south, was on hand at recent Sunol Citizen’s Advisory Council meeting to talk about Medical Marijuana cultivation which is commonly shortened to “grow” in related community meetings.  On the site of his property, there is a business called Plant and Pottery Outlet, a couple of residents, and a large vacant greenhouse complex. Allen, Sr. has been looking for an agricultural tenant for the greenhouse and the only applicants have been medical cultivation or “grow” businesses.

Inform Sunol received an email from Allen, Sr. on April 30th about his preliminary permit for Cannabis Cultivation (“Grow”). Allen, Sr. wrote, “I think there is a difference between having a cultivator versus a dispensary.  That being said, after the [SCAC] meeting I attended, many people came up to me express their support. I am happy to report that my immediate neighbors have been very supportive of our proposal.”

Allen, Sr. had been surprised to see such strong opposition to Medical Marijana both in the public meetings and in Inform Sunol editions but advised that he wasn’t sure if it was against the dispensary [Retail] or cannabis in general.

“As a long time land-owner here in Sunol, I am in support of both the proposed dispensary and our proposed cultivation site. I believe that appropriately
regulated cannabis can be a benefit to our community. However, I am concerned that the two projects seem to get conflated. With an existing greenhouse and infrastructure on site, there would be no obvious changes to the appearance of our property or additional traffic on Mission Road.”

Allen, Sr. explained further, “One potential tenant would be a nursery that grows “Cannabis Starts” and would sell these starts to Cannabis growers elsewhere who would, in turn, bring the plants to maturity.  While we are confident that our property could be improved to meet all the security requirements of a full-scale Cannabis ‘Grow’ operation, this early-plant-lifecycle tenant would likely require less security infrastructure due to the relatively low value of the starts.”

Inform Sunol appreciates Chris Allen, Sr. for reaching out and will clearly separate all further discussions about cannabis “Grow” vs. “Retail.” All further surveys including the one in this issue will reflect the fact that “Grow” and “Retail” Cannabis are clearly two very different community issues.


Commercial Cannabis Regulation in Unincorporated Alameda County (Click on this link to visit the Community Development Agency webpage)

Inform Sunol Volume 1, Number 5
June 14, 2018

Cannabis in Sunol: Grow & Retail



Proponent says his firm may be the catalyst
to alleviate Traffic Issues
Shareef El-Sissi is a partner in Garden of Eden which has taken the first step to locate a retail medical cannabis operation on Andrade Road, next to the Gas Station. During a conference call with Inform Sunol, El-Sissi said that he wants to reach out to the residents of Sunol to explain what the plans are for the operation, but advised that they are not yet finalized.
“We are still working on the community benefits package, the aesthetics of the building and even our traffic mitigation measures are all fluid. Nothing is set in stone.”
“We have the right to apply for the conditional use permit, and there are many mechanisms in place for all interested parties to influence the project whether it is approved or denied,” said El-Sissi referencing Alameda County’s Conditional Use Permit process and the next major hurdle that Garden of Eden must jump to offer retail Cannabis in Sunol.
“I realize that the community is focused on Traffic. The Andrade Road location is indeed a high traffic zone, and the county has a process in place for traffic issues. We commissioned a traffic study, and though we are still waiting for the results of the study, we believe that any plans that the county has in place will mitigate the traffic issues,” reported the Retail Cannabis proponent.
“There is a misconception that civic Improvements will be required to improve the traffic situation. We believe that the impact we have is negligible compared to the existing traffic. Alameda County reviewed the Project and all the impacts and understands the traffic in that area. The county already needs to look at the traffic, and we may be the catalyst for the county to take a closer look,” advised Shareef El-Sissi.
“We have been in this situation before with opposition. In Hayward, we turned our opposition into supporters. We repaired the sidewalks, cleaned up the area and have done many positive things. Now the neighbors would not want us to leave.”
“We believe the community of Sunol will realize that we are who we say we are. We have been in business for fifteen years as Garden of Eden and are in the top 10 of longest running facilities in the nation. We were awarded Business of the Year in Alameda County by Meals on Wheels to which we are a major contributor. We help at-risk groups like Seniors and Children.”
Compliance with the rapidly changing California laws on retail cannabis is a significant issue for anyone participating in the business and Garden of Eden depends on an outside firm for guidance. “In the ever-changing landscape of cannabis regulation, Garden of Eden has maintained a long-standing track record of compliant operations within the County. To ensure that record continues for the residents of Sunol, Garden of Eden has retained Green Wise Legal, a premier cannabis law firm, to serve as compliance counsel,” said attorney Pamela Epstein of Green Wise Legal who participated on the conference call.
Shareef El-Sissi explained that Garden of Eden is more than just a cannabis retailer but also provides software for cannabis businesses. He reports that about 20% of California’s cannabis transactions are on software provided by Garden of Eden.
“We are responsible for the compliance of our software customers, and we lead the way for our cannabis businesses customers to understand the changing regulations. We can teach and foster learning in the Cannabis industry.”
Assisi invites interested Sunolians to come to visit his retail site on Foothill Blvd in Hayward. “We are finishing up a renovation of our Hayward facility, and anyone who wants to understand what our operation looks like is welcome to come and see what kind of business we run and be pleasantly surprised,” assured Assisi.
Garden of Eden Website:
Inform Sunol Volume 1, Number 5
June 14, 2018
Cannabis in Sunol: Grow & Retail
“They are now talking about 1500 additional Cars per day,” said Sunolian Mike Picard. “Initially, they were predicting 300 – 500 cars per day and the retail product would be strictly Medical Cannabis, now anyone would be able to buy pot there.”
Representing several of his Andrade and Sheridan Road neighbors, Mike Picard feels like he has faced an uphill battle since the day a couple of his neighbors learned that a medical marijuana retail operation was being proposed for next door to the Sunol Super Stop gas station near the Andrade Road exit from Interstate 680.
In the middle of December, Andrade ranch residents within 1000 feet of the property received notice of the plan to locate the Cannabis retail operation on the property of the now shut down driving range and learned that they only had a short amount of time to file an appeal by January 2nd. “The way the notice was presented right over the holidays does not seem like open communication nor transparency,” advised Picard.
As it turns out, the county had been working on looking for a retail medical pot operation for quite some time. When speaking against the proposal, Picard has been questioned by county staff, ‘We have been on this process for a year or two, where have you been?’ The Sunol resident has also been challenged on why the neighbors are protesting with the implication that there is nothing they can do. Picard contends that a couple of meeting announcement posters stapled to telephone poles on a street with a 40 MPH speed limit does not constitute sufficient notice.
The Sunolian says he has faced opposition at every turn from the county and even from a few residents from other parts of the Sunol Valley. Comments he has heard include, “What’s the big deal, its next to the Gas Station?”, “Medical Marijana is here to stay, why fight it?” and “People need medical cannabis to cope with challenges from PTSD to sleep,” Nevertheless, Picard contends the residents he represents are less concerned about the product itself because the real issue is the increased traffic impact.
“The most important issue is the huge increase in traffic that this retail operation would bring to an already grid-locked portion of I680,” said Picard, “The proposed retail business is now being compared to a ‘Golf Driving Range with a Restaurant’ and the traffic forecast has risen three-fold from the original 500 to 1500 cars per day. Who in Sunol wants to add that much traffic to the street that they live on?”
The Sunol resident says he represents about 80% of the residents living on Andrade and Sheridan Road. Nevertheless, he says he has twice been rebuffed from being able to address the Sunol Advisory Committee meeting about the issues even after filling out a speakers card which he expected would allow him 3 minutes of the SCAC’s attention.
“During a recent meeting, we had about a dozen of our neighbors each prepared to speak on a different aspect of the impact this retail proposal would have on our neighborhood. We filled out our speaker cards, but the meeting chair told us that ‘we need to keep this meeting short and we don’t have time for multiple people to talk about this’ and we were denied the opportunity to be heard,” reported the Sunol resident.
“Put yourself in our shoes, if the county announced they would put a Starbucks at the corner of Kilkare and Foothill, how would people feel about that? Of course, we all would love to have the convenience of the product, but can you think of anyone who would want the additional major traffic impact on their street?” said Picard.
On the subject of product demand, Picard questions the Sunol location as appropriate for serving its customers. “You would think that a retail business would want to be located where there is demand for the product. To buy cannabis in Sunol, a customer will have to get in their car and drive a distance on 680 which is wall to wall cars, and there is no public transportation. Wouldn’t a business like this prefer to be located where there is better traffic flow and public transportation like buses, taxies, and BART?”
When officials point to the fact that California voters chose to be able to buy cannabis and that the county has to do this to respond to the voters will, Mike Picard explained that both Pleasanton and Fremont have rejected retail marijuana in their city limits. “California voters did not say that we have no choice and that a marijuana store should be put on Andrade Road. In fact, I disagree because we collectively do have a choice in properly locating any high traffic demand business.”
The Andrade-Sheridan resident would like Sunol residents to band together in opposition the way Sunolians did a dozen years ago when a proposed compost dump was slated for Andrade Road potentially bringing with it a considerable truck traffic impact. Picard said, “Supervisor Haggerty became a hero in Sunol when he shut down the proposal in a public meeting. This would be a great opportunity for Scott Haggerty to step up again to protect Sunol from yet another high traffic impact proposal that is not appropriate for our area.”