Gustine’s first cannabis dispensary opened its doors to the public on Jan. 22, with both local and visiting customers lining up down the block in anticipation of the city’s first legal weed sale.

Nearly 300 people made their way through the new business during the dispensary’s grand opening, with many traveling from surrounding cities like Merced, Atwater and even Modesto. Plenty of Gustine residents stopped by too, marking the end of a long wait, which first began several years ago.

The City Council approved the cannabis micro-business, which will grow and sell cannabis products on site, back in September 2019. The 1,000-square foot retail location was originally meant to open last February, but the death of co-founder and partner Charles Lambert as well as other pandemic-related hurdles pushed back the launch.

Today, Charles’ son Brannan Lambert along with Robert Villalobos, Andy Sanchez and Clarissa Becerra serve as partners on the project, bringing a wealth of retail knowledge to the industry. The dispensary prides itself on low prices, as well as a knowledgeable staff that know the ins and outs of medicinal and recreational cannabis.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback, and we were really scared about that since we’re the first one,” Sanchez said. “There’s been nothing but love and respect.”

Upon its approval over two years ago, the City of Gustine and Tip Top Farms entered into an agreement which City Manager Doug Dunford then reported would bring initial revenues to the city in the neighborhood of $500,000 for the first full year, and increasing in time to around $700,000.

Other benefits to the City include the creation of new jobs, Becerra said, though the business owners know they may not be accepted by everyone.

“There are a lot of benefits to it, and I look at it from more of the more holistic side. So for someone that has no idea and comes into like a taboo conversation, I would definitely show them the medical side and all of the wonderful aspects that help you,” she said.

Despite some who may not agree with recreational cannabis, the demand on opening day for the dispensary showed Sanchez that the journey to get there was well worth it — and it’s only just begun.

“It’s really becoming prominent, especially here in the Valley. There are a lot of people who are converting their mentality…There are still issues with taxes, but we feel like it will get to a point where it’s balanced,” he said. “I came into this very afraid of the naysayers, but it’s been so fun.”

Tip Top Farms is located at 377 4th St. in Gustine. The dispensary is open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Customers must be 21 or older.