Tahoe Wellness Center celebrates expansion on 4/20, 14 years in business | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Wellness Center celebrates expansion on 4/20, 14 years in business

Customized retail space in TWC's new dispensary area.
Javier Silva/Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — With the South Lake Tahoe community continuously expanding, local cannabis dispensary Tahoe Wellness Center is also growing, and expanding into a larger footprint.

Tahoe Wellness Center, also known as TWC, has been a part of the South Lake Tahoe business landscape since 2009; and was South Lake Tahoe’s first cannabis dispensary. TWC has been working towards expanding their footprint of their space, as well as bringing an integrative, communal experience to cannabis consumption.

Founded by owner Cody Bass, TWC’s core business values are centered around peace, love, unity, compassion, health, wellness, and happiness. After years of knowledge in the cannabis industry, Bass was passionate about bringing accessible, medicinal and recreational cannabis to the South Lake Tahoe community.

“I had been in Tahoe since 1998 and had been working in dispensaries throughout the Bay Area and Sacramento for many years,” said Bass, who is also on his second term as a city council member. “I originally started in the cannabis movement in Mendocino where I had been farming and growing cannabis up until my move to Tahoe. I was very integrated into the movement of medical cannabis.” 

While Bass still lived in Mendocino in the 90’s, he had owned a local coffee shop that once was in the Ski Run Shopping Center. The established coffee shop moved from the Ski Run Shopping Center to the Bijou Shopping Center, where TWC currently is today.

Cody Bass, Owner and Founder of Tahoe Wellness Center.
Javier Silva/Tahoe Daily Tribune

“Once the shop moved, I remember going to look at the new location and thinking ‘wow, this is the perfect place for a cannabis dispensary,'” Bass said. “I met the owners [of the Bijou Shopping Center,] and talked to them about the benefits of cannabis and what it could bring to the South Lake Tahoe community.”

After speaking with the owners of the Bijou Shopping Center, Bass invited them to visit his dispensary in Sacramento at the time, Capitol Wellness Center, to further show them the benefits that cannabis can provide to a local community.

“At that time, we were very much into the same things we are today, which is wellness, but medicine was always at the center and core of what we were doing and providing,” Bass said. “Back then, providing safe access to people who were truly sick was of the utmost importance, and TWC was very centered around providing overall safe access to those who needed it – that was the core of our mission.”

Artist, Mear One, painting a new mural in TWC’s new dispensary area.
Javier Silva/Tahoe Daily Tribune

While bringing a dispensary to the South Lake Tahoe community was exciting, it also wasn’t an easy model to bring to fruition.

“With bringing a dispensary to South Lake Tahoe came a big political fight,” Bass said. “We opened on Jan. 2, 2009, and then Obama got inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009. During that time, we thought we’d really see major change at the federal level for the cannabis industry.”

Counteracting what Bass had thought would come with President Obama in office, the same day he was inaugurated, the patient-to-patient center in midtown South Lake Tahoe was raided by the DEA.

“During that time we had been told by longtime Tahoe locals that we were crazy, we’d get run out of here, there’s no way this would work, it was really more than intense at the time,” Bass said. “Back in those days, we would operate as if we were going to be raided and try to stay as organized and as planned as possible.”

While those early days of operation were scarce, Bass and his team took to learning from them to form a foundation for a successful business model for cannabis in the community.

“One of the things that was really integral to the way that we operate today was to be really transparent and do everything to the best ability and practices we knew,” Bass said. “Back then, there was no regulation. So what we could create from best practices would in turn form those regulations that are in place today.”

Cody Bass, Owner and Founder of Tahoe Wellness Center.
Javier Silva/Tahoe Daily Tribune

After opening in 2009, TWC has formed that foundation for dispensaries in the South Lake Tahoe community. However, compassion is still at the center of TWC’s business model in the present day.

“Compassion for us has always been the number one thing, and if there’s anything people have gotten from TWC, it’s that we are centered around compassion,” Bass said. “People can know the medicine that they need and the quality that is needed they can find through us.”

Ten years after TWC opened its doors, the business purchased the space next door, that was once El Dorado Savings Bank, in plans to expand their space. Three years later to modern day, TWC is excited to finally be opening their doors to the local community to see their expansion on April 20.

With the expansion, TWC’s dispensary will offer a full-service counter with bud-tenders to assist visitors with any questions, a brand-new grocery store model for purchasing cannabis products, interactive art; and down the line, a pending onsite cannabis lounge where individuals can enjoy cannabis on-site safely.

While TWC offers a wide selection of high-grade cannabis products, the dispensary has taken a proactive step towards sustainability, and also has its own product line of cannabis goods, coined the Tahoe Herb Collection and Tahoe Hash Collection, also known as THC. From start to finish, all THC products are grown in-house at TWC in a sustainable, eco-friendly environment and managed by cannabis professionals. THC products are also available at TWC for purchase, and their new expansion space will include an informative wall, detailing the process of creating THC products.

Tahoe Herb Collection plants growing in-house at TWC under green light.
Javier Silva / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Looking forward, the dispensary is eager to continue to grow the cannabis business model in South Lake Tahoe, as well as get further rooted into the cannabis industry overall by continuing to educate and be a resource to the local community.

“[Cannabis] really is a movement about civil rights and our basic human rights to access a plant, and we have the ability to write a wrong in society, and correcting the assumptions on cannabis is one of those things where we really can write the wrong,” Bass said. “Cannabis is something that comes with an industry that is forming behind it, so us opening and expanding is representative of us really being here for the long run and what cannabis will mean to our community.”

TWC will be celebrating their expansion on April 20. The dispensary will be hosting their expansion grand opening with one-time deals and specials. For more information, visit tahoewellness.com or call 530-544-8000, or celebrate the expansion grand opening in person at TWC, located at 3445 Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

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