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Walnut Creek Magazine

Coming Out of the Green Closet

With the overwhelming approval of Prop 64 in 2016, California voters helped bring weed out of the shadows and into the storefronts. It also provided city governments with a new fiscal high. According to the SF Chronicle, a whopping $4.9 million in cannabis sales tax revenue contributed to City of San Francisco coffers in 2020 alone. 

But while cities across the Bay Area embraced cannabis by licensing recreational delivery services and retail shops, in 2018 the City of Walnut Creek took a more conservative approach limiting local dispensaries to medical marijuana delivery only.

Now, a budding group of medical professionals are working hard to change the city’s policy and to educate the community about the benefits of cannabis. Launched by a team of experts, board certified physicians, and retail executives who want to create a new kind of cannabis experience, HerbNJoy is the only licensed medical cannabis delivery service in Walnut Creek.

“HerbNJoy's vision is to promote healing, wellness, and enhance people's lives with cannabis as an alternative to opioids for pain relief,” says Community Outreach Director Falguni Dave.

With over 1000 members, Rossmoor’s Medical Marijuana Education and Support Club, was a major draw for HerbNJoy when the company opened its third location in Walnut Creek. “Despite the city’s regulatory framework, we felt confident our medical-only delivery operation could service the Walnut Creek community and clients who suffer with pain, sleep deprivation, and anxiety,” says Falguni.

Eighteen months later, competition from delivery services who are not subject to the “medical-only” business model, is making it next to impossible for HerbNJoy to continue as a profitable operation.

“If you want to purchase product from HerbNJoy, you must purchase a medical recommendation, she explains. “But that’s not the case for more than 100 other operators on Weedmaps who deliver cannabis to Walnut Creek consumers without city regulations and drive the sales tax revenue back to Oakland, Berkeley, or Martinez. We are hopeful that our local officials now have the data on the positive experiences of neighboring cities to bring cannabis out of the closet in Walnut Creek and reflect the will of the voters who supported legalization for adults by 61%.”

As part of its economic development priorities, the Walnut Creek City Council asked city staff to evaluate whether non-medical, adult-use commercial cannabis delivery businesses and/or storefront retail should be allowed in Walnut Creek. On October 5, an in-depth analysis will be provided to the Council. “I am looking forward to the staff report and learning about how this is working in other cities,” says Mayor Kevin Wilk. “I believe the council made the right decision at the time, but we have more knowledge than we had three years ago. Now is the time for a new discussion.”

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