As cannabis industry growth shows no signs of stopping, more brands and dispensaries are merging to strengthen their impact and reach.
By Cara Anderson
This week, San Diego’s Southwest Patient Group officially announced a merger with Urbn Leaf. Located about a mile from the Mexican border, the newly re-named Urbn Leaf Southwest has been a longstanding and leading dispensary in SD.
Southwest Patient Group founder Alex Scherer, spoke with Candid Chronicle about his roots in cannabis, changes he’s seen in the past decade, and what to look forward to with the Urban Leaf merger.
Scherer’s involvement in the cannabis industry predates the opening of his dispensary. “I’ve been doing this since 2009 in the city of San Diego, that’s actually when I met Will from Urbn Leaf. We founded a trade group together,” says Scherer.
Alex is referring to Will Senn, founder of Urbn Leaf. Senn and Scherer’s trade group, in its early years, focused on engaging city officials to build the laws around cannabis.
Scherer explains, “It was a lot different, the politics, the atmosphere back then around this. It was a lot more sensitive than it is now, so we really had to push. We ran a referendum. It was the first referendum in the country that was run against the cannabis ordinance that was essentially trying to ban us. We organized probably 70 dispensaries in the city to collect signatures to rescind that ordinance.”
Scherer and Senn’s push for significant change in the city changed the course of SD’s cannabis history. In part due to the work of their trade group, an ordinance was passed in 2014 by San Diego City Council, allowing the city to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. Applicants, like Scherer, began submitting permits for a legal MMD, paying an initial deposit of $8,785.
In November 2015, Southwest Patient Group opened as the third licensed dispensary in the city of San Diego. Founders Alex Scherer and Pearl Ayon were both born and raised in San Diego.
“We relate closely to our consumers on a personal level,” says Scherer.
More recently, Alex and Will Senn founded another trade group, United Medical Marijuana Coalition, which worked towards San Diego allowing medical dispensaries to also operate as adult use dispensaries. According to Sherer, UMMC was also involved in San Diego’s approval of the rest of the cannabis supply chain, from distribution, manufacturing, cultivation, and testing.
Consolidation might be king when it comes to cannabis companies, especially now that cannabis federal legalization is within reach. Considering Scherer and Senn’s individual and collaborative track records of success, plus the indisputable benefit of having a bigger brand, merging SPG with Urbn Leaf was an organic step. The leadership seems hopeful for the future and opportunities to further expand Urbn Leaf.
As Scherer puts it, “Right now, the industry is in a very unique spot… We wanted to make sure that our energy, and our spirit, carries and continues to influence the direction that the industry is going.”
Urbn Leaf Southwest has already begun implementing changes. The dispensary will now operate under new hours, feature new daily deals, and is expanding their menu to reflect the products that are offered at Urbn Leaf Bay Park. The group is preparing to revamp the San Ysidro Boulevard location entirely. One aspect of the dispensary will remain, SPG’s delivery services, provided by Alpha Medic and Left Coast Collective.
“The team at Southwest Patients Group has been a great ally to Urbn Leaf in pushing Cannabis regulations forward in the San Diego market for nearly a decade. As such the strategy of both companies were naturally aligned. We are extremely excited about the opportunity to bring this strategic partnership to the next level and welcoming the entire Southwest team to The Feel Good Fam.” – Will Senn, Urbn Leaf Founder.
To celebrate the merger, Urbn Leaf Southwest is now offering deals like their Ounce Special on select Urbn Leaf brand flower. The special includes Urbn Leaf’s Blackwater, Bruce Banner, Cadillac Jack, Chem Dawg, Deep Sour Kush, Fire OG, Gorilla Glue, Platinum Cookies, Rebel Sour, Strawberry Banna, and Super Glue ranging from $99 to $125 per ounce.
Featured image via @urbn_leaf_southwest
EDIT: Added Left Coast Collective on 12/6/18 at 2 PM.