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La Mesa first in East County to sell cannabis

The Grove was given green light by the state to sell adult-use pot products

La Mesa’s first legal medicinal cannabis dispensary is now selling adult-use cannabis products, too, the only East County operation allowed to do so.

The Grove opened in July 2018 in the city’s industrial zone with a green light to sell cannabis items to people with county or state-authorized medical marijuana identification cards. On Thursday, the store began offering recreational-use flowers, vaping cartridges, edibles and tinctures.

Sean McDermott, owner of The Grove, said he received an email from the state at about 7 p.m. Wednesday that had a copy of his business license and a little blurb congratulating him on being able to sell both medical and recreational products.

“It’s pretty exciting, it’s fun to be first,” McDermott said Thursday. “The wine is always sweeter when you make the grapes wait till the right moment.”

A steady stream of patrons practicing social distancing and wearing masks because of the COVID-19 pandemic filed in and out of the 960-square-foot store on Center Street, some to buy products for medical purposes, others for recreation.

Steve Hunter of El Cajon said he was thankful that he was able to buy cannabis flower and vaping cartridges at The Grove. Hunter doesn’t have a medical ID card, but he said because of back issues and some anxiety, the products help him relax and sleep more comfortably at night.

He said there is an illegal marijuana dispensary five minutes away from his house, but that he prefers the 15-minute trip to a store that doesn’t draw a crowd of “unsafe” characters or sell products that he is concerned could contain ingredients that are potentially harmful.

“I’m 55 and the thought of going to illegal shops is kind of scary and intimidating,” Hunger said. “I like to know what I’m putting in my body and that it’s getting tested by the state of California. I try to stay healthy and eat well. I’m not going to put myself in jeopardy by putting anything in my body that you don’t know where i came from. These have packaging dates, information on what test has been done by what lab, and the quality is amazing.”

 

The Grove’s products are free of contaminants and pesticides, and are tracked, traced, regulated and certified by the state from growth to distribution, with every batch coming with its own certificate of authenticity.

McDermott said he has a regular crowd of medical cannabis users but expects an uptick in foot traffic because there is a “huge customer base” that wants to buy recreational cannabis products. Because The Grove is a “boutique store,” well lit and airy inside, with dozens of brightly colored pre-packaged and state-regulated products, McDermott said it speaks to “a certain type of clientele,” and one that will continue to grow.

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