Proactive Sacramentan among first to receive new cannabis storefront license
By Ken Magri
In some ways, Mindy Galloway is the perfect person for a new Sacramento cannabis dispensary license. As a winning applicant in the City Council’s effort to award10 new licenses, she represents a new kind of dispensary owner.
Galloway grew up in the Del Paso Heights area, which was hit hard by the federal government’s decades-old war on drugs. Because of that past discrimination, her zip code fell into one of the qualified areas for license applicants.
The new licenses are part of the city’s Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity program (CORE), which was created to help people traditionally facing barriers to starting a cannabis business. The social equity program waives license fees and provides mentorship for the new entrepreneurs.
The application process was thorough for all of the license awardees.
“We had about three months to work on it,” said Galloway. We had to talk about our background, our experience. Then we had to talk about our business plan and have personal references,” she said.
With luck, Galloway says the storefront will open by January.
Galloway’s experience in the cannabis industry includes eight years of retail sales and wholesale manufacturing experience. She first worked at midtown’s A Therapeutic Alternative dispensary before becoming a co-owner of Khemia, a women-owned cannabis manufacturing business.
On a statewide level, Galloway co-chairs the Diversity, Inclusion & Social Equity committee for the California Cannabis Industry Association. Locally, she is a member of the United Core Alliance, a group of social equity applicants who reach out to help other applicants going through the process.
“She brings a deep intelligence of compassionate care from her roots in the legacy industry as well as a rare ability to influence and educate with her heart-centered management style,” said Kimberly Cargile, CEO of A Therapeutic Alternative and Galloway’s former boss.
News and Review spoke with Galloway recently, to talk about the application process and her plans for the new dispensary.
SN&R: What will your dispensary be called and do you know where it will be located?
Galloway: “It will also be called Khemia, and I am looking at the downtown area. But I didn’t want to get a location until I found out I won. The process was really cluttered. There were about 160 people who had applied for a storefront.”
How many employees do you plan on hiring?
“Eight employees in year one, twelve additional in year two, and ten more in year three, for a total of 30 employees.”
You have to find investors now, but you did that before with Khemia.
“The biggest barrier for everyone in the CORE program is financing. Dispensaries are a little bit easier to find capital for, than manufacturing or cultivation. Manufacturing has more potential for expansion, but is more capital intensive.”
What businesses do you plan on working with to stock your shelves?
“We would like to work with other cultivators, so we purchase flower and raw material from legacy farms, women-owned farms, black-owned farms, LGBTQ, because we want to support those farms.
From that point we are able to do the manufacturing and scale. So, we are almost vertically-integrated, but we want to work with other people.”
Will you be carrying any products from the other new dispensary owners?
Yes. It is hard for social equity brands to get shelf space in Sacramento, because stores have their established brands that they work with. Those of us that won awards through the CORE program meet regularly, and are supporting each other.
So, would you recommend that all cannabis customers ask their dispensary “Where are the social equity brands?”
“Yes,100%. Our city, Sacramento, is supporting this program and helping create leaders in the cannabis space through social equity, and I think a lot of people don’t know that. The new businesses they are supporting are from their own back yard.”
Khemia Manufacturing is women-owned. Do you plan the same with the dispensary?
“It is going to be women-focused. The whole point is to create a community for women. The women market is very under served, so we want to reduce the stigma.
Finally, please tell me about these rose-petal pre-rolls I saw.
“The Rose Petal pre-roll is a Khemia Product. We sell them in dispensaries all over California and we will be selling them in our own storefront retail. It’s a pre-roll with a rose petal wrapped around it.”
And you can smoke it? That’s not something a guy is going to warm up to, but a woman would say ‘how innovative.”
“Yeah, but guys are also going to buy them as presents, and be the star of the day!”