New Generation dispensary staff gather under a white popup tent outside a shelter at Santa Ana Boulevard and Ross Street, as homeless people line up for new clothing, socks and water bottles. The workers stepped away from their air-conditioned facility on the other side of Santa Ana, from which the dispensary sells THC and CBD products, to give back to people downtown.
“The community has been there to help us and support us; it’s only right and just for us to be there for our community,” explains Chris Costales, New Generation’s head of marketing, as his co-workers pass out clothing and water on June 15.
The dispensary also brought in four barbers from the Image shop in Corona to give more than 15 people free haircuts, trims and shaves in preparation for warm summer weather.
More than anything, the day of giving allowed the dispensary staff to speak directly with some of the more than 450 people in need who stay in the shelter.
The day before, New Generation accepted the donations of socks, shirts, shorts and water bottles. Patients who donated were offered price breaks on certain products chosen by dispensary staff and vendors. The dispensary hosted a patient-appreciation day at the same time that featured various cannabis vendors, two of which also chose to give back to the community. Canndescent and Platinum Vape offered patients who donated to the drive $1 top-shelf prerolls. By the end of the day, New Generation was brimming with piles of new socks, shirts and shorts, as well as multiple cases of water—all for the homeless shelter. “We give back a significant amount, and it’s not just us—it’s also the community that comes in,” Costales says. “They hear about the event from word of mouth, and then they tell their friends. Before you know it, we have a huge stack of clothes that are going back into the community.”
New Generation’s efforts stem from the experience of owner Justin Shively, who wanted to help the homeless after becoming aware of their situations at the Santa Ana Civic Center and in the Santa Ana riverbed in 2016. Since then, the company began giving to Midnight Mission at the Courtyard in Santa Ana twice a year (in the summer and in the fall); hosting a clothing and food drive during Thanksgiving, plus a Christmastime toy drive; and encouraging staff to donate to the Orange County Rescue Mission and the YMCA.
The dispensary—which is fully compliant, offering both medical and recreational marijuana—sells a variety of flower, concentrates, tinctures, edibles, cartridges and CBD products. The clinic also sells glass products and clothing apparel.
But the staff puts cannabis education at high importance and works to de-stigmatize the cannabis industry. “That was one of the huge things when I hired on, and it was made apparent that we do want to change the stigma around the industry,” Costales says. “And that’s why we do a lot of charity events. Smokers do care.”
New Generation has big things in the works. It recently received a cultivation license, which allows staff to grow the plant inside the facility on Segerstrom Avenue. The team also plans to offer even lower prices to its patients by launching a membership program similar to Costco’s.
“We have some new lines coming out that we are going to be running through our distribution line,” Costales adds. “We are going to be having some outstanding sales that people are not going to be able to compete with.”
New Generation, 3700 W. Segerstrom Ave., Santa Ana, (657) 900-8200; newgenerationoc.com.