A group that includes Westlake Village City Council member Ned Davis has won the rights to Thousand Oaks’ first-ever medical marijuana dispensary permit.
Davis’ group, Legendary Organics, was selected by the T.O. City Council on July 10 from a field of two applicants; a third applicant chose not to show up for the hearing and was dropped from contention. The vote was 4-1.
Patrick Spillane, who with his half-brother Sean Cassar and Davis comprise the leadership team at Legendary, told the Acorn they hope to begin selling medical cannabis products by the end of the year.
The dispensary, to be located in an industrial area of Newbury Park off Rancho Conejo Boulevard, will be the only in the Conejo Valley as the cities of Agoura and Westlake Village have banned the practice and T.O. is only allowing one.
“We knew council had the ultimate authority to select the operator (they felt) would best serve Conejo Valley,” Spillane said. “We are honored they chose us.”
Not everyone at the July 10 hearing was thrilled with Legendary’s selection. Councilmember Rob McCoy criticized the company for falsely quoting Thomas Jefferson in a brochure and ultimately voted against them; local cannabis grower Joe Kyle accused the company of using its commercial real estate ties to prevent other applicants from finding space.
“I’m disappointed that I had four potential clients that all wanted to apply for a dispensary but were unable to simply secure a building,” Kyle said during public comment. “I’m disappointed this council changed the application to not require a location certificate about one week before the application deadline while not extending said deadline; I’m disappointed that when the potential clients called around to local (real estate agents), they were told other people were ‘taking care of it.’ I’m disappointed (the ‘other people’) were the exact entity that has placed first in the city’s point system, while at the same time having donated to four out of five City Council members.”
In Legendary’s official application paperwork, Davis is listed as director of operations. He told The Acorn in April that he does not own any stake in the company but is working as a paid consultant. He said he has a long history with the Cassar family, which owns and operates Moorpark-based Kretek International, a leading importer and seller of specialty tobacco products.
Reached this week, Davis clarified his role in the future dispensary—he’s a consultant.
“I don’t really have a deal, so to speak, but when you are involved with managing the operations (you have to be listed),” Davis said. “We read the document as saying, ‘Well if you’re going to have an effect on how it’s managed, you have to be listed as an owner, even though you may not have a financial interest, or a great financial interest in it.”
The current mayor pro tem said he’s collecting a paycheck for his consulting services and treating the business as a startup. He said he charges a discounted rate in return for equity in the dispensary.
During last week’s hearing in front of the Thousand Oaks council, Davis remained seated in the audience while Spillane made a presentation on behalf of Legendary and fielded questions. At one point in the hearing, Thousand Oaks Mayor Andy Fox asked Davis if he cared to provide comment; he did not.
Asked why he did not choose to speak during the meeting, Davis said he can speak to the medical uses of cannabis but preferred to let Spillane address the council about the business plan.
“The whole idea of me talking, I thought it would be more of a distraction, because I’m an elected official from another city, and there could be sensitivities to that,” Davis said. “It seemed like the council wanted information related to the location and the things Patrick was talking about.”
A former Hollywood executive, Davis has served on the Westlake Village council for 11 years. He told the Acorn earlier this year he is a proponent of medicinal cannabis, specifically CBD, short for cannabidiol, a marijuana extract shown to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. Davis said he’s used CBD products, which don’t cause the user to experience the high normally associated with marijuana, to treat migraines.
Over the years, the Westlake Village City Council has always voted unanimously on cannabis-related issues. In April 2011, the city discussed amending its municipal code to prohibit any cannabis related facilities. At the time, Davis expressed concern about patients who use cannabis treatments being denied easy access to it but still supported the ban.
The owners of Legendary Organics say they anticipate opening between then and the end of the year at 2712 Conejo Center Drive in Newbury Park. They have one month to reach an operations agreement with the City of T.O. before their permit becomes final.
If an agreement can’t be reached, the city retains the right to open negotiations with the runner-up.
Reporter Ian Bradley contributed to this article.