San Luis Obispo will not be receiving its third storefront dispensary after all.
An applicant for the city’s third available commercial cannabis permit has pleaded guilty to several crimes prior to the application period and permit being granted. As a result, the soon-to-be Natural Healing Center’s operating permit for San Luis Obispo has been denied as of Oct. 6.
“What I can tell you is that they never would have received a permit had we known that [shop owner] Helios Dayspring lied on the permit application,” San Luis Obispo Public Communications Manager Whitney Szentesi said.
In July of this year, Helios Dayspring, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and one count of subscribing to a false 2018 tax return that deliberately did not report millions in earnings. He was forced to pay $3.4 million to the IRS and agreed to cooperate with the government moving forward.
According to a statement released by the Department of Justice, Dayspring paid bribes totaling $32,000 to a late San Luis Obispo County supervisor between 2016 to 2019 so that they would vote favorably on issues relating to his business interests.
Similarly, Dayspring admitted to attempting to bribe a former mayor of Grover Beach in 2017 with $100,000 in exchange for two dispensary licenses. However, the mayor declined the offer and the amount was never paid.
“The city welcomes commercial cannabis businesses, but operators who participate in illegal activities are not welcome,” Szentesi said.
The city does not currently have an appeals process for automatic disqualifications. However, if they disagree with the city’s findings they can submit a response that would be considered by the city.
San Luis Obispo City cannabis rules specify that a maximum of three cannabis dispensaries are allowed to operate at this time in the city.
“The City of San Luis Obispo, we’re committed to a fair and transparent process and we really want to provide a level playing field for legal commercial cannabis companies here,” Szentesi said. “That’s something we really want people to know.”