Mad River Union
MCKINLEYVILLE – Once a target of federal pressure, the Hummingbird Healing Center cannabis dispensary will re-establish itself in McKinleyville’s business center.
A conditional use permit for Hummingbird was approved by the county’s Planning Commission at its March 15 meeting. Hummingbird will sell medicinal and adult use cannabis products out of a 2,235-square-foot suite at 1580 Nursery Way, which is near the intersection of Central Avenue and Nursery Way.
Hummingbird was permitted by the county in 2011 at its former location in the Eureka area’s Myrtletown Shopping Center. The dispensary closed the following year after the federal Department of Justice sent a warning letter to its landlord.
California was settling its own legal take on local government authority to regulate cannabis despite it being federally illegal. The county froze its permitting as a high court case was litigated.
The state’s Supreme Court dismissed a previous decision favoring federal preemption and the county re-opened permitting under a medical cannabis dispensary ordinance approved in 2015.
According to a written staff report, Hummingbird’s vision extends beyond cannabis. “Hummingbird Healing Center (HHC) is planning on having a massage therapist and yoga instructor in the future,” the staff report states. “The long term goal of HHC is to create a full service wellness center for the entire community.”
Hummingbird is the second dispensary to be approved for the area, as the Satori Wellness Center operates at 1551 Nursery Way. A third dispensary, Calyx Mountain, has a pending permit application for 1715 Central Ave.
The county’s staff report states that the McKinleyville Union School District submitted written comments opposing approval of Hummingbird’s permit due to the federal controlled substance status of cannabis.
But the county report also notes that the district confirmed that Hummingbird’s location is not within 600 feet of a school bus stop.
Hummingbird’s hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
Security will include a high definition camera system and a full-time onsite security officer. A second security employee will check ID cards and, in the case of medical cannabis, doctor’s recommendations at the door.
Hummingbird’s permit application outlines its aim to “eventually act as a social support center and a site for community-focused projects, classes and support groups.”
According to the application, “Medical research has shown that those who suffer from chronic and debilitating illnesses benefit from frequent interactions with knowledgeable and caring individuals who, in turn, can act as resources and friends.”
State voters approved general adult use cannabis several months after Hummingbird’s application was received by the county. An amendment to the dispensary ordinance allowed recreational adult use, which has been added to Hummingbird’s permitted activities.
Its permit was on the commission’s consent agenda of routine items and was approved without discussion.