Warfare Between Pot Dispensaries: Urbn Leaf vs. Golden State Greens

by on February 6, 2019 · 12 comments

in Ocean Beach

Urbn Leaf storefront; from website

By Sheila Pell / San Diego Reader

As cannabis facilities grow, so does the traffic around them. Emissions increase, air quality degrades. Yet the San Diego City Council is ignoring those environmental impacts.

That’s what several appeals of permits for three new pot production facilities before the city on Jan. 14 claimed. After a preliminary review, the city exempted the projects — 3443 Pickwick Street in southeast San Diego and 8330 Arjons Drive and 9151 Rehco Road in Mira Mesa — from further environmental study, since the applicants would use existing buildings, make limited modifications, and the impacts in these light industrial zones should be minor.

Golden State Greens, from website.

Environmental concerns have nothing to do with the appeals, speakers for those applying for permits alleged. The California Environmental Quality Act, a state law that can be used to block development permits, is being abused by competitors.

“This is wasting everybody’s time,” said Gina Austin, attorney for one of the applicants. Everybody, that is, but the appellants, who shell out a hefty fee to the city for each appeal. As councilman Sherman noted, “on a lot of these appeals we see the same name over and over: Mr. Fleisher.” Fleisher appealed all three projects. The morning of the hearing, he withdrew them, but another appeal remained for each.

The battle began when the city set a cap of 40 pot production facilities, and more than 60 eager entrepreneurs lined up. Those among the first 40 to be granted environmental exemptions and city approval hearings have become the targets of competitors, trying to claw their way up in the queue, Austin claimed. “What you have is Bill Fleisher, who appealed a bazillion people…and he is the father of an existing marijuana outlet operator who didn’t want to use his name, so used dad’s name for a bunch of these.”

For the remainder of this article, go here.

This was originally published Jan. 28, 2019.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Pasta Party February 6, 2019 at 2:29 pm

This seems biased and ultra-focused.
I’m all for strict environmental reviews, but if anyone is worried about a couple of dispensaries increasing carbon emissions from an increased amount of vehicles, then they better be appealing every new highway expansion and increased high density housing application, otherwise the fact they have anterior motives is blatent.


thequeenisalizard February 7, 2019 at 10:11 am

The headline is misleading. This article isn’t about dispensaries at war, it’s about cities doing everything they can to block the purchase of legal marijuana after it was approved by the majority of Californians.


Frank Gormlie February 7, 2019 at 10:52 am

The author slow-balled one of the article’s main points:

“Senn, of Urbn Leaf, filed an appeal in November challenging the city’s environmental determination on 3443 Pickwick street. The same month, Urbn Leaf’s buyer, Joshua Bubeck, aimed another at the facility Austin represents, at 8330 Arjons Drive. The applicant, Adam Knopf, is chief executive of Golden State Greens, a Point Loma dispensary located about a mile and a half from Urbn Leaf’s Bay Park shop.”


thequeenisalizard February 8, 2019 at 10:48 am

California needs a new ballot measure doing away with most of the restrictions allowed by communities still clinging to the Reefer Madness headset of the past.


Frank Gormlie February 8, 2019 at 11:51 am

Right on, right on!


Tyler February 7, 2019 at 10:45 am

The defacto oligopoly of dispensaries continues, and is now further aided by existing dispensaries all trying to create an economic moat.

So sick of the Urbn Leaf bus in OB. All they do is prey on tourists.


ZZ February 7, 2019 at 10:56 am

I don’t have an issue with Urbn Leaf having a bus. The zoning rule doesn’t allow any dispensaries in OB after all. The problem is the bus is gigantic, when an airport shuttle bus would work fine and create less emissions and take up half the space.

By the way, when I had a visitor who wanted to take the bus on a lark a few months ago, it was a disaster. They have no online schedule, calling the place they didn’t know the schedule either. So she waited at the usual place by the pier for 90 minutes, and it didn’t show up. She then went shopping and snacking on Newport, and still never saw it.


Michael February 7, 2019 at 11:45 am

CEQA is routinely “weaponized” to restrict new development/permits. No surprise it’s happening to the dispensaries.

People complain about affordable housing and developers favoring +$1MM homes. It’s all about permitting. So much easier to tear down an approved structure and rebuild a luxury home opposed to buying land and building homes for working families.

These environmental reports are close to useless. I’m getting through a 1,300 page one at the moment which doesn’t have much value. Unless someone is doing groundwater/dirt sampling, the reports are inconsequential.


Vern February 7, 2019 at 12:11 pm

“… As cannabis facilities grow, so does the traffic around them. Emissions increase, air quality degrades…”

so it can be said:
As airports grow, so does the traffic around them. Emissions increase, air quality and quality of life degrades.
As schools grow, so does the traffic around them. Emissions increase, air quality degrades.


sealintheSelkirks February 9, 2019 at 2:35 pm

It’s all about profits, both to corporate capitalism which is getting into the ‘biz’ in a big way nationwide, and increasing governmental taxation. This so-called ‘legalization’ at the state level has never been about anything else. You are being forced to pay taxes to the very people/entities who have been destroying lives for 80 years.

Of course the alternative is still very, very punitive if you don’t approve of getting your green from gov approved stores, eh? That is still very illegal.

The ability to make your own choice would be anyone who wants to grow a few plants in the backyard would just go ahead and do so. That’s legalization. Need a license to brew up beer? Crush grapes and make wine? No? Didn’t think so. Keep trying to get the government and corporations (and Wall St. investments!) completely out of the picture.

Realize that there are generations of people alive in this country who have been so completely indoctrinated by government propaganda their entire lives that they absolutely hate cannabis and can’t imagine any other outlook. It’s the devil’s weed, the destroyer of all that is good and right, and you can’t shake their ‘faith’ any more than you can talk a suicide bomber out of their version of good and right. I’ve talked with these people and I see very little change from when they were stripping cars apart at the border on the way back from Baja surf trips during Nixon’s Operation Intercept (remember that?). These anti-cannabis types are a pretty big chunk of the voting population still…

We’ve got another version up here in Washington State. Lots of retail stores, not so many medical dispensaries (which the state gov is trying to do away with for increasing taxation purposes), and the only people allowed to grow their own are those with a medical recommendation but with many many towns allow to forbid that by local law. Or allow recreational sales or medical dispensaries or any store to sell ‘drug paraphernalia’ such as pipes or bongs etc.

And it’s illegal for a medical grower to GIVE AWAY any excess to friends or family that live in those prohibition towns because that will cut sales tax revenue… The election round that changed the original WA medical cannabis law screwed people with a bad or worse choice (the Dims or the Rethug written versions) that chopped the number of plants a new medical card would allow, and limited to one card any grown on the same property regardless of how many people living on that property had a medical card (multiple households suddenly didn’t count on large properties). For those of us who already had them, we’ve been ‘grandfathered’ in for the original number but I expect that to somehow be legislated away at one point. That’s what Prohibitionists have always done, in the dark of night with hidden riders to this or that bill.

Keep on pushing this, don’t get comfy. Push for improvement in legislation because they certainly aren’t going to give the public any more power than they are forced to.



retired botanist February 9, 2019 at 4:10 pm

Good commentary, Seal, on a ridiculous national state of affairs :-). We all know Big Tobacco and Wall St. have been prepping and rampin’ up for marijuana sales for quite some time now.
Marijuana is ok if it is stock on Wall street, or its ok if its CBD and any sense of “feel good” is removed, its ok if the bejesus is taxed out of it, but basically its still demon weed. To wit, a medical marijuana company, offering a $3 million ad for the Superbowl (ugh. Anyway, altho plenty of alcohol advertising, nevermind big pharma, is OK and encouraged) was turned down by CBS.


Yeah, b/c football players are still heavily fined for toking up, even though opioid use is rife, domestic violence among players is chronic, cruelty to animals…well, its a laundry list…
Even Nicorette gum is still heavily packaged in blister packs that no human can open without a blowtorch, but vaping in bubble gum flavors is available at 7/11s.
In light of the staggering problems of tragic opioid and alcohol addiction, we need to somehow get over this obsessive and futile control of nicotine and THC and let the dust settle where it will, and let the efficacy of THC benefit those who choose a different solution to big pharma and the alcohol industries.
Just another example of the schizophrenia of our Federal govt. Honestly, after 30 years of NORML advocacy, the hypocrisy is making me seasick!


sealintheSelkirks February 14, 2019 at 2:13 pm

Thanks for the compliment. I try to write what I’m thinking so that others can make sense of what I’m trying to say. Sometimes it works, sometimes I’m too upset about the subject and get a little rant-0riented, but I try to be careful most of the time. Glad this made sense to you.

As for advocacy, 30 years? Is that all? Ha! Laugh at this one: I’ve still got my green on yellow (faded but quite legible) YES on 19 California Marijuana Initiative button from The Black when they were having the petition drive (what year was that??). It was in a box in my deceased dad’s garage when I came down there to sort his house out in 1994. And continuing that advocacy theme, in 2001 while back down there again sorting through dad’s glaucoma-ridden older sister/my last relative in San Diego’s house up Mission Gorge Road I found the original pipe I had brought her when she asked for help as her eyes got horribly bad way back in the 80s…that blew her doctor away after a few weeks when he tested her again and the pressure numbers inside her eyeballs had dropped by 80%. She called it a miracle and didn’t tell him why…

Her brother my dad would have been horrified that his longhaired surfer son was bringing weed to his older sister for years!!


And I certainly agree about the hypocrisy, it’s worse than disturbing; instead it is just overwhelmingly awful. I absolutely hate the idea of Big Pharma and Wall St. taking over. Can we say Monsanto GMO seeds? There was an article about them having already developed suicide cannabis seeds that I read quite a while ago. Can you see those seeds getting out into the world? It all goes downhill from there…

Advocacy! I grow my own from seed not clone, sew my own fabric 18″base x 22″ tall grow pots so I can always grow them outside in sunshine and wind and bugs but be able to move them in and out of the shop during flowering blackout or when nasty t-storms roar in. It’s the largest size pot I can comfortable move by myself on a handtruck (about 3.2 cubic feet of soil in each). As to the biology part I think you’ll appreciate, I have a nearby neighbor who has been experimenting with developing a CBD oil-based pain reliever topical paste for the last 20 years due to his mother having horrible rheumatoid arthritis. Also grows own worms for worm casings and is making his own organic soils. He uses all of my stems, stalks, leaves, and shaken out and dried roots to make the most amazingly efficient Green Goo you can imagine using nothing but a crockpot and 100% organic coconut oil from Costco. A double batch goes into each finished single batch. Very potent. I’ve got friends who also contribute their rubble. An amazing local remedy to all kinds of soft tissue injuries…and I don’t use Big Pharma, turn down all prescription pain pills when I’ve been offered by dentists/doctors, not even ibuprofen. No alcohol in decades, don’t drink cola or coffee, and I finally managed to stop the nicotine addiction about 12 years ago after going up and down with it. Playing music in bars until they outlawed cigs in them made it tough to stay off, ya know?

Cannabis and hot tea for me.


Obsessive and futile. You stated it perfectly. But when it gains certain members of society control, power, and wealth and then a large number of others in the society make a paycheck from prohibition, it becomes very very hard to obliterate.

It’s starting to snow outside the window again. Best go get in a couple of wheelbarrows of firewood before it gets going. Tomorrow my local boarding hill is gonna be 6 foot and offshore (in OB surfer language). Another powder day surfing mountains.

Do something fun every day, retired biologist.



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