In this city, you can buy weed at the shopping mall

The Union Landing Shopping Center in Union City, California is a one-stop-shop for all your retail needs. There’s a Walmart, Best Buy, Party City, and GameStop. There’s also a cannabis dispensary run by Grupo Flor. It sits on the site of a former Sprint store.

Grupo Flor’s Union City store is believed to be the first of its kind nationwide, located in an open-air regional shopping center that sees millions of visitors each year. It’s the company’s fifth shop in the Golden State and it will average an estimated $15 million in gross sales its first year. That should translate to about $250,000 to $500,000 in annual tax revenue, according to Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci.

The Union City location has attracted national media attention. Some wonder whether it could become a growing trend as cities grapple with the closure of traditional retail stores, hit hard during the pandemic. Currently many municipalities limit cannabis businesses to industrial zones.

The Grupo Flor shop has drawn concern from some members of the public as well as Councilmember Gary Singh, who voted to oppose its license. Still, the city stands by its decision.

The city is “proud of being on the cutting edge this time,” Economic Development Manager Gloria Ortega told NBC News.

“It really wasn’t an act of desperation. It was the realization that cannabis is here to stay.”


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