With golden shovels in the dirt and high hopes, Marysville officials celebrated the groundbreaking of one of the city’s newest businesses: River City Phoenix – a medical marijuana dispensary, and one of the first cannabis businesses to set up shop in Yuba-Sutter.
Tom Sheridan, vice president of business development for the company, said Thursday’s event was the culmination of years of work.
“I used to live in Plumas Lake, and we saw this as a great opportunity to bring some jobs to an area that needed it,” Sheridan said. “It’s been a long process, but we are close. Today marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.”
Some work at the site at 521 Third St., between McDonald’s and Rideout Regional Medical Center, has already been started. Sheridan said they are hoping the dispensary is fully constructed and ready to open in the next four to six months.
David Spradlin, president and CEO of the company, said the medical marijuana dispensary will have everything from cannabis flowers and edibles to topicals, tinctures and extracts – all of which are “rigorously tested” to ensure they are safe for consumption.
“We come from a medical background, though we do sell adult-use products at our Sacramento facility. The Marysville location will only be medical. That’s one of the reasons we reached out initially, because there weren’t any dispensaries locally where patients could access their medicine,” Spradlin said.
River City Phoenix’s flagship location is in Sacramento, which was founded in 2010. Spradlin said RCP has since expanded to have two dispensaries in Sacramento and the new Marysville location, as well as plans to set up shop in Portland, Ore. More than 600 people a day, on average, use each of the Sacramento facilities, he said.
“When a patient walks in for the first time, they will come through the door to a warm welcoming. They will have to fill out some initial paperwork and be verified as a medical patient. We will run them through the rules, then they will get to go inside where a trained budtender will be there to help them find what they need. We want our budtenders to connect with our patients on a personal level – that’s what has made us successful thus far – so we work hard to build those relationships,” Spradlin said.
Another aspect that makes RCP unique is that its employees are part of the United Food and Commercial Workers – a labor union. Spradlin said because the company is unionized, their employees start at $13 an hour, which then raises to $15 an hour after 90 days and annual raises after that. Employees also receive health benefits.
Impacts on city
Spradlin said the medical marijuana dispensary is planning on holding a job fair ahead of its opening, likely in May or June. As long as potential applicants are medical patients and can pass a background check, they are qualified to apply.
Eventually, he said, the target is to have about 80 percent of the workforce being local hires, though initially there will be employees from other branches to help get the dispensary up and running. He expects the new business to initially add about 15-20 jobs in the area.
“Marysville is obviously our home base, so we are for any legal business that can come in and help the city and local economy,” said David Read, executive director of the Yuba Sutter Arts Council. “We also heard from the mayor and company representatives that they want to make some contributions for local artwork here in Marysville, so we are excited to build a relationship with a business like this.”
Mayor Ricky Samayoa said the fact that RCP was willing to build a brand-new building and work with the city through a laborious process shows the commitment by the company to invest locally.
“It’s been a rigorous process for a reason. It’s been, in some ways, controversial being that the city is taking the lead on this, so we wanted to do it the right way,” Samayoa said. “Now, we will have a new building that will look fantastic, and the business has a great track record of getting involved in the community.”
Samayoa said he is hoping the process signals to other potential investors that Marysville is not only willing to bring in new businesses and industry, but able to do so. He credited city staff for their work in attracting new investment.
“Bottom line, (RCP) was willing to invest a lot of dollars here because they felt they were going to be successful,” he said. “It’s a great location, with highway access and plenty of foot traffic. Overall, I think it’s going to be an outstanding business, and I look forward to having the industry take notice that Marysville is working hard to do it the right way.”