New medical marijuana dispensary for Mammoth

A new medical marijuana dispensary is in the pipeline for Mammoth.

It is called “The Eastern Sierra Life Cooperative,” owned by Mammoth resident Don Wright.

It is to open in the space formerly occupied by “Green Mammoth Medical Marijuana Dispensary” in the KMMT building on Laurel Mountain Road.

The Mammoth Lakes Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously passed the application, giving Mammoth its second medical marijuana operation.

“Green Mammoth,” which opened in 2010 by Wave Rave Snowboard Shop owner Steve Klassen, closed when Klassen said an uncertain political climate in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. prevented long-range planning and operation.

That left the door open for Wright, an employee at Wave Rave who also worked for Klassen at Green Mammoth.

Wright cleared a plethora of regulatory stipulations, which included winning the approval of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.

In opening the Eastern Sierra Life Cooperative, Wright told the Planning Commission that he learned the business through extensive classes and instruction at Oakland’s “Oaksterdam University,” which re-opened in the city’s Uptown District after being raided last April by federal agents, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the U.S. Marshall’s Service.

Oaksterdam includes lessons and lectures on politics, legal issues, horticulture, as well as business management.

Oaksterdam University, modeled on the world-famous Cannabis College in Amsterdam, is a non-accredited for-profit educational facility and “political institution” founded in November 2007 by medical marijuana activist Richard Lee.

It offers training for the cannabis industry with a mission to “legitimize the business and work to change the law to make cannabis legal.” Its main campus is located in Oakland, with campuses in Los Angeles, Sebastopol, and Michigan.

In Mammoth, Robert Calvert’s “Mammoth Lakes Wellness,” situated in the Mammoth Luxury Outlet Mall, became the town’s first marijuana dispensary on Nov. 27, 2010, the result of a vote by town citizens.

The voters of the Town of Mammoth Lakes approved Measure M on June 8, 2010.

It allows a maximum of two medical marijuana cooperatives within the town. The voters approved medical marijuana cooperatives and specified they could be located within the commercial general or industrial zoning designations, provided that they obtained a use permit from the Planning Commission and were no less than 500 feet apart and 1,000 feet from any public school, library, or park.

In addition, the Town Council adopted more specific regulations for medical marijuana cooperatives.

The Municipal Code requires two levels of review and approval for medical marijuana cooperatives. The first level of review is the medical marijuana cooperative permit, which is handled by the Police Department.