The city’s second legal cannabis dispensary plans to open this month.
Essence, which initially applied as Integral Associated Dena, plans to do business at 908 E. Colorado Blvd., in The Shops on Lake Avenue, beginning March 20.
Essence is the second cannabis dispensary to legally open in the city. Varda opened in East Pasadena at 3341 E. Colorado Blvd. on Dec. 15.
In June 2018, local residents passed Measure CC, allowing as many as six cannabis retailers to operate in the city, though not guaranteeing that many would actually open – hence the six companies that were allowed to apply for conditional use permits (CUPs) in 2019.
Integral, Harvest, Tony Fong, MME Retail, Atrium and SweetFlower were the top six in the city’s cannabis merchant selection process.
So far, only Essence (formerly Integral), Tony Fong (Varda) and Harvest have received CUPs.
Atrium, SweetFlower and MedMen did not advance in the process for various reasons.
Several months ago, the city launched a probe into the six applicants chosen to open retail stores after it was discovered that at least seven officials at MME Retail, also known as MedMen, had left the company, which led to a change of control.
In the approval process, applicants were scored on experience, cannabis industry knowledge, and ownership team criteria. Cannabis operators were required to not make any material changes to the management team listed on the application. Varda, Integral, and Harvest were cleared in the investigation, but MedMen was taken out of the city’s selection process.
Atrium filed for a CUP in City Council District 3 but was denied because Harvest had already filed for a CUP in that council district, and SweetFlower was removed after the City Council determined owners turned in an incomplete application.