Tucked away in a city at the most northern tip of California and bustling with college activity sits Livity, a marijuana dispensary, which after two years of planning and preparation has opened its doors to the community.
Livity, a million dollar investment, is the brainchild of Elliott Marshall, a Grand Bahama native and advocate for the use of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes.
Walking in the store feels as though you had entered your typical tech or cellphone shop. The only difference is the showcases and cabinets are stocked with the highest quality of marijuana products ranging in strains including cannabis infused drops, vapes, seeds, flowers and ready to eat gummies.
“We started on this project about two years ago,” Marshall said as he welcomed patrons to his store just six days after opening.
“Out here you have to secure the location, pay the rent and a whole list of other things before the application process even starts. It’s been quite a long and very expensive road. We’ve invested just over a million dollars already into getting where we are.”
Recreational use of marijuana is legal throughout the state of California for adults 21 years and older.
“This is big business,” he said. “You have publicly traded companies in our industry. We’re here in the most northern tip of California right now and this is where it all started. Humboldt County is ground zero for medical marijuana and this is where the backbone of our industry has been. This is the cultivation mecha.”
Marshall sits as a member of the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana, which recently presented its preliminary report to the prime minister.
While the report stopped short of recommending marijuana or recreational use, it did however, recommend the decriminalization of up to one ounce.
To show just how much one ounce of marijuana is Marshall collected eight three and a half ounce jars of cannabis and placed them side by side. To someone unfamiliar with the product eight jars would look like a lot. But for Marshall, that total of one ounce for many who require the plant for its various purposes, wouldn’t be enough.
“This is my 12th year in the industry,” he said.
“Science has proven the benefits of medicinal marijuana for years now. There are those with conditions and others where this would not be enough on a daily basis.”
For one who has never been in a marijuana dispensary, the wide range of cannabis infused products may be a bit shocking.
With products meant to smell like cookie dough to those intended to make one feel as though they’re drinking the milk from their favorite cereal, Marshall said it’s his goal to one day open similar dispensaries throughout The Bahamas where Bahamians will be able to create their own flavors and in turn create and own a new industry.
“As you’d see in the report, we have 25 different industries that can be positively impacted by The Bahamas embracing the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes,” Marshall said.
“If you look you’d see everything is professionally done, even down to our packaging. If we’re going to manufacture then someone has to do the tubes for the pre-rolls, the graphic designing, accounting, security, etc. There are multiple sectors outside of physically touching the plant are involved in making this come to fruition. It will take a lot of private sector involvement to have products look like this.”