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Midtown’s Bread Store could become pot shop as dispensaries inch closer to city’s core

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The Bread Store in the heart of midtown could soon become a marijuana dispensary.

Safe Accessible Solutions has applied with the city to move to J Street between 17th and 18th streets from an industrial area just east of Power Inn Road in South Sacramento where it has operated for about five years.

On Thursday, the city’s Planning and Design Commission will consider the proposal. If the commission approves it, and an appeal is filed, City Council will also need to approve the move, said Joe Devlin, the city’s chief of cannabis policy and enforcement.

The Bread Store will likely stay open if the city does not approve the dispensary, co-owner Andy Smith said. Smith, who also co-owns the building under an LLC, said he didn’t anticipate midtown developing into the retail space it is today when he opened the 5,500-square foot bakery in 1990.

“When we first built that space we didn’t know midtown was going to turn into midtown. It was a production facility in a part of town that was honestly pretty crappy back in 1990,” said Smith, 54. “Had we known where it was going to go, we probably would have built a bigger restaurant and done things differently.”

Smith began seriously looking into closing the bakery and renting the space out about four to five months ago, he said. He declined to give a closing date for The Bread Store because the dispensary has not yet been approved, but said it could still possibly open in a smaller capacity elsewhere.

Safe Accessible Solutions, which sells cannabis to medical patients and recreational users, plans to open in The Bread Store’s space in February or March, said manager Cristina Georgescu.

The proposal needs commission review because the dispensary would be located within 300 feet of a residential area and within 600 feet of a church, a drug rehabilitation center and tobacco retailer, a city staff report said.

The drug rehabilitation center refers to WellSpace Health facility, but the company does not oppose the dispensary, CEO Jonathan Porteus said.

“Since alcohol and drugs are omnipresent in society in general, we try to see the presence of these kinds of businesses as examples of the challenges people seeking sobriety have to face all day every day,” Porteus said in an email. “My organization did not oppose BevMo when they took over the record store, I believe it would be hypocritical to oppose a dispensary since they are also legally authorized to sell intoxicants.”

The residential area mentioned is a Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency apartment complex for elderly and disabled residents, said Angela Hunt, SHRA spokeswoman. She did not immediately provide additional comments on the proposal.

The other properties — St. John’s Lutheran Church and a CVS Pharmacy — did not immediately respond for requests for comment.

Seven people who said they own properties on the same block of J Street wrote letters to the city opposing the dispensary, mostly raising parking concerns. Five of the seven letters are from people who said they own 1722 J St. — a vacant storefront next to The Bread Store that’s in the possession of a trust, according to county records.

There is a parking lot that abuts the Bread Store, but is only for BevMo customers, Greg Endom, the chain’s senior vice president, wrote in an email to the city last month.

“The change in use from a neighborhood bakery to a cannabis dispensary will have a negative material impact on the neighborhood and surrounding community,” Endom wrote.

The city code does not require on-site parking for nonresidential properties on parcels under 6,400 square feet, the staff report said in response to the parking concerns. Customers can park on the street, walk or bicycle, it added.

The dispensary, which has submitted a proposed security plan, would be open for sales from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., the staff report said.

Dispensaries moving closer to city’s core

Safe Accessible Solutions’ proposed move to midtown is part of a larger trend for dispensaries in the city.

The city loosened its requirements on how far dispensaries need to be from churches, schools, tobacco retailers and from each other, Devlin said. As a result, several dispensaries have applied to move from industrial areas in north and south Sacramento to closer to the city’s urban core, Devlin said.

The city has approved dispensary Community Health Solutions to move to 1918 16th St. from an industrial area in southeast Sacramento, Devlin said. Staff has also approved Greenstone to move to 2320 Broadway in Curtis Park from an industrial area in North Sacramento, Devlin said.

Dispensaries like Safe Accessible Solutions want to move closer to midtown and downtown because there is more foot traffic and less competition.

“There’s a lot of us in south Sacramento,” Georgescu said. “We’re kind of bunched together, so it would benefit our whole business to move.”

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