The Mission Valley head-quartered cannabis dispensary, Marsh and Ash, was welcomed by the City of Chula Vista during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct.16.
Under the management of Omar Jaramillo March and Ash is now replacing the Archway Lounge on Telegraph Canyon Road. March and Ash has operated retail cannabis dispensaries throughout San Diego and Imperial counties since the opening of its lead location in 2018.
“I’ve heard so many good things about Chula Vista and the community itself. I pledge to uphold the standards set by the city and a reputable company for March and Ash” Jaramillo said.
Chula Vista’s Mayor, Mary Casillas Salas presented the dispensary with a certificate to officially welcome them in the community. March and Ash’s founder and CEO, Blake Marchand, alongside store manager Omar Jaramillo and Public Affairs Director Spender Andrews received the certificate. Former Chula Vista Councilmember Mike Diaz handcrafted wooden scissors which were used in the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“I know a lot of people complained about how long the process was, and how long it took to bring you all in, but we are glad you are here. I’m glad that we took so much time to vet out operators to make sure that we have the best. I think we’ve got the best here in Chula Vista.” Salas said.
Community members responded very well according to employees since their soft opening on Oct.9. Public Affairs Director Spender Andrews said March and Ash initially hired 28 employees for the Chula Vista location, and all employees will be part of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 union, the collective bargaining agreement was recently ratified.
Through the collective bargaining agreement, employees are able to participate in the benefits, including industry-leading wages, healthcare, a profit sharing program, and subsidized child care through the YMCA that is set to begin early 2022. March and Ash works in partnership with Union Organizer at the UFCW, Maribel McKenzie to bring this business to life. “Their contributions are the establishment of good paying jobs, focusing on education and giving back to the community,… It is a great opportunity. Great paying jobs with good benefits that are here and we can at least stay within our communities. Especially being here and raised in the South Bay. Sometimes we have to drive out of our own community to be looking for good paying jobs that offer education, childcare reimbursement or even child care coverage. Now this is something where you can stay within your own community. I’m very proud of it, especially being a South Bay girl” McKenzie said.
Two future locations are under construction on H street in Chula Vista and two more on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. Historically the City of Chula Vista has fought to shut down illegal marijuana shops. Officials said during a press conference that the last of them were shut down on Sept. 11 of last year.
“The facility is very sleek and very clean. I'm very comfortable that they have security in place so that only people who are allowed to purchase marijuana products will do it. As the company is growing, the industry is growing. There are positions and careers, and they are here in the area” Mayor Salas said.
Spender Andrews said March and Ash carries a full line of cannabis products from licensed manufacturers and cultivators throughout California. A receptionist welcomes each customer who must register with March and Ash for any purchases, and customers are able to freely browse in a pressure free environment. “It’s about open shopping and nobody is hovering around you. Customers love that,” said March and Ash Employee, Mario Gonzales.
“Everyone is happy for sure. Everyone is so glad that we are here and that there is a legal shop and not to worry that it will get raided” Gonzales said.
With 12 years of experience in the cannabis industry and two years as an employee for the company, Gonzales says March and Ash will be taxed 30 percent by the city. According to McKenzie, taxes paid by the business are reinvested into the community through public works projects like the construction of parks and roads being rebuilt or even the construction of a university in Chula Vista.
All employees undergo an intensive two week training course to learn about the products they sell. CEO Marchand said “Education is one of the things the company strives for, so what you will see when you go in our shop is that all of our employees are fully vetted with all of our vendors”. Educational meetings are sometimes held at the Chula Vista Library in order to educate the public about the cannabis industry and to answer questions.
“As a part of UFCW, we work along with Marsh and Ash and other cannabis industries that we represent to educate communities to make sure the community is well informed,” McKenzie said.
Their website lists risks associated with cannabis consumption and links to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.