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Turlock’s fourth dispensary eyes restaurant location
cannabis NHC
Natural Healing Center is proposing building a cannabis dispensary at the current site of El Rosal restaurant, 3401 W. Monte Vista Ave. (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

Turlock’s fourth and final cannabis dispensary has selected a location, which is set to go before the Planning Commission next week for approval.

Natural Healing Center, a Grover Beach-based dispensary brand, was originally ranked No. 5 on the City of Turlock’s list of top 10 candidates for retail cannabis operators — a selection compiled one year ago for the pilot cannabis program. The dispensaries ranked in the top four were selected to operate in Turlock and originally included Firehouse (1601 W. Main St.), Perfect Union (2500 N. Golden State Blvd.), Evergreen Market (1206 N. Golden State Blvd.) and MedMen.

When MedMen dropped out of the pilot cannabis program toward the end of last year, NHC was bumped up into the top four and is now hoping to open a dispensary at 3401 W. Monte Vista Ave.

“We’re grateful,” NHC Director of Government and Public Relations Joe Armendariz said. “We expect and hope to be able to open our doors if not by the end of the year, by the beginning of 2021.”

The proposed location is currently home to the Mexican food restaurant El Rosal. Armendariz said that the owners of the building were interested in selling the location but is unsure what the restaurant’s next move will be. The owners of El Rosal were not able to be reached for a comment by press time.

“It’s a really great location because it has easy on and off access to the freeway and it’s across the street from a very busy retail commercial location,” Armendariz said. “From a business standpoint, it’s an ideal location for us.”

If approved, the current building would receive a complete facelift before NHC moves in. The tan and orange exterior that greets El Rosal diners will shift to a more modern black, white and grey storefront, reminiscent of the experience NHC aims to provide inside of the dispensary.

“I think what sets us apart is absolutely our commitment to a high-end, Apple store surrounding and architectural feel,” Armendariz said. “In addition to the aesthetic feel of our stores, we’re committed to behaving in a respectful, ethical way that benefits everybody, from our patients and customers to the city.”

Like the other three dispensaries making their way through the City of Turlock’s permitting process, NHC plans on assuming an active role within the community by supporting local nonprofits. The company already has established locations in Grover Beach and Lemoore, with another two planned for Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. Like their other locations, Armendariz believes their fifth Turlock dispensary will thrive and hopefully help alleviate some of the City’s financial strain.

“Our stores are extraordinarily successful. Cannabis was deemed an essential business by the state so we’ve been able to operate throughout the entire COVID pandemic, but what I think COVID has caused a slowdown in is the process. It’s more difficult to go through the public process when you can’t have public meetings and have to do everything on Zoom,” Armendariz said. “The COVID has also had an extraordinarily negative economic impact of jurisdictions large and small, and we are excited as a company to be able to go into a community like Turlock and be able to create a really revitalizing impact on the economy.”

NHC’s proposed location will go before the City of Turlock Planning Commission at 6 p.m. Aug. 6. This meeting will not be physically open to the public due to COVID-19. All members of the public may participate in the meeting via teleconference by calling 209-289-0280, Conference ID 665029, and will be given the opportunity to provide public comment.