Report: Amoeba Music Berkeley Looking To Add Pot Dispensary
October 4, 2016 at 12:22 PM (PT)
AMOEBA MUSIC, the iconic indie record retail store with outlets in LOS ANGELES and SAN FRANCISCO, is looking to add a marijuana dispensary to its TELEGRAPH AVENUE location in BERKELEY, according to a report in INC.
According to store founder DAVID PRINZ, the addition of the dispensary may be the only thing saving the store from shuttering its doors.
Since the 1990s, sales at stores along fabled TELEGRAPH AVENUE have dropped over 40%, with many of the closed stores record retailers like TOWER RECORDS, SAM GOODY, ODYSSEY RECORDS, MUSIC LAND, PEACHES, MOBY DISC, ROUGH TRADE, RAINBOW RECORDS, STAR RECORDS and ARON'S, among others.
Four-and-a-half years ago, PRINZ and his co-founder MARC WEINSTEIN, decided to convert the BERKELEY store's 3,000 square foot jazz room into a marijuana dispensary. After submitting an application last fall, the founders received approval last week from the cityfor a license to sell medical marijuana. PRINZ says the dispensary, which will be a totally separate space with its own entrance, will open by MAY 2017. "Marijuana will save AMOEBA MUSIC in BERKELEY," said PRINZ.
Since APRIL 2014, AMOEBA's SAN FRANCISCO location has been running a medical marijuana recommendation clinic with DR. SAMUEL DISMOND. The clinic, which does not sell marijuana, sees about 50 patients a day who consult with the doctor and leave with a recommendation to use cannabis.
"The clinic helps us continue to pay the rent and helps us pay our employees," PRINZ said. "But the dispensary is going to be more lucrative."
PRINZ and WEINSTEIN have partnered with longtime advocate and marijuana entrepreneur DEBBY GOLDSBERRY, a founder of BERKELEY PATIENTS GROUP, a cannabis supplier and dispensary operating since 1999.
"I don't think we could've kept AMOEBA BERKELEY going without this. Our store there took the biggest hit; college kids are the first to find out how to get music for free," said PRINZ.
PRINZ has invested about $500,000 in total for the license, and to keep the store open. The dispensary will purchase its produce from NORTHERN CALIFORNIA farmers.
"Our goal is to build the best dispensary in the world,' said PRINZ, who will call it the BERKELEY COMPASSIONATE CARE CENTER. If the shop ever becomes recreational, PRINZ says they will call it "AMOEBUDS."
"We are fighting to keep our store open, we are fighting to keep our employees' jobs," said Prinz, who first opened the BERKELEY location 26 years ago. "We think marijuana will help us continue the fight."
It was recently announced that the site housing AMOEBA RECORDS in HOLLYWOOD has been sold to a developer, though the retail store will remain at least through the duration of its lease, which lasts "another several years" (NET NEWS 9/14).