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While the layout inside Coastal Dispensary may look drastically different, the company’s mission remains the same.

The recreational cannabis dispensary has continued its dedication to the local community through its Coastal Cares program, donating face masks to its partners with People Assisting the Homeless, also known as PATH, and Unity Shoppe. Coastal is also partnering with Indus Cypress Cannabis and is providing customers and passersby with masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Set up just outside the retailer at 1019 Chapala St. is a table manned by employees who are handing out face masks to the public. Coastal began the giveaway last weekend and is aiming to provide 4,000 free protective masks to the public. The company has also donated an additional 200 masks to PATH and 50 masks to the staff at Unity Shoppe, said Devon Wardlow, director of public affairs for Coastal Dispensary.

“I think it’s really important that we, as community leaders that have been deemed an essential business in Santa Barbara, really step up and make sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure that our customers and the community at large have the necessary resources to protect themselves and take the necessary precautions,” Ms. Wardlow told the News-Press.

Since opening in September 2019, the dispensary has used its Coastal Cares Program to work with the pair of local nonprofits by volunteering and donating. Whether it be participating in Unity Shoppe’s annual telethon during the holiday season or serving dinner to the homeless working with the shelter, the company has sought to give back. The company also donates 2% of its net profits back into the community.

“I think we’re trying to break down the traditional stigma that cannabis has and showing that we can be good community partners and we’re interested in giving back,” General Manager Ryan Bishara told the News-Press just a few weeks after the dispensary opened last year.

Though dinner’s at PATH have been postponed due to the pandemic, Ms. Wardlow is looking forward to the weekly event returning.

“I’ve been doing that for about nine months and I really enjoy it,’ she said.

Coastal has benefited from the recent surge in cannabis sales, including on Monday during the stoner holiday 4-20. The company gave away gift bags with $100 worth of cannabis goodies to its first 100 customers, while also offering free delivery service and an isolated pickup window for customers to use.

The showroom floor ordinarily is filled with various cannabis products and displays more than 40 different strains of marijuana, allowing the customer to smell the product or use a magnifying glass for a closer look. All display products have since been removed as the company practices social distancing. Staff is now conducting hourly cleaning throughout the entire store.

“Things have definitely changed,” Ms. Wardlow said. “We started doing those policies immediately following all the announcements around coronavirus, but I think morale is good. We’re really grateful that we’re able to serve the community at this difficult time.”

Ms. Wardlow said that nearly all the products offered by the dispensary — including flower, tinctures, drinks, balms, edibles and more, have been flying off the shelves in recent weeks.

“People are continuing to consume cannabis during this strange time. For a lot of our customers it’s a stress relief and it’s an important product they use to alleviate various ailments, so I think for us though we have seen obviously a decline in sales just like everywhere else has, 4-20 was a successful day which is great to see,” she said. “Across the board, we’re grateful to see that we’re able to operate and continue to provide these services to the community.”

Ms. Wardlow, an alumna of Santa Barbara High School and UCSB, said she has been pleased to see the whole local community step up and come together during such a difficult time for so many. Coastal CEO Julian Michalowski and COO Malante Hayworth also got their starts in Santa Barbara through real estate.

“It’s a nice reminder of what a wonderful place we live in,” Ms. Wardlow said. “We’re just really happy to have an active role in this community given that we love it so much.”To learn more or to place an order, visit www.coastaldispensary.com.

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