Palm Springs Safe Access, a California Mutual Benefit organization is dedicated to the goals of Compassionate Care – providing quality and affordable medicine for its patient group - seeks to be recognized as an industry leader in promoting compassionate caregiving in a professional environment that offers safety-tested products to ensure a first-class, top-quality experience for patients.
Palm Springs Safe Access, looks forward to supporting local charities with donations from operational profits, will carry more than 50 strains, or varieties, of medical cannabis, as well as edible products and other remedies, all independently tested by SC Laboratories to ensure all offerings are free of harmful chemicals, pesticides, and molds.
Palm Springs Safe Access has worked closely with SC Laboratories - a leader in quality assurance and safety testing for the medical cannabis industry and one of the first independent analytical institutions to recognize the importance of promoting cannabis safety through education, testing, and certification. Visit www.sclabs.com
Robert Van Roo first recognized the benefits of medical cannabis when a friend with a serious illness found relief in the cannabis treatment prescribed by his doctor. But he also soon witnessed the harm his friend experienced when his already-compromised immune system was exposed to pesticides and molds commonly found in dispensary marijuana.
Robert’s efforts to help his friend find a reliably-safe source of medicine led him to become involved with several California dispensaries that were developing best practices in the medical cannabis field, such as independent laboratory testing and partnership with growers committed to organic standards.
Robert became personally passionate about medical cannabis when a back injury left him bed- ridden and suffering loss of sensation in his hands. CBD extracts in the form of a topical spray, paired with yoga practices, liberated him from the need for toxic and addictive pharmaceuticals.
From those formative experiences, Robert developed a deep understanding of the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis, the range and specificity of cannabis products, and above all the need for the highest safety standards. And by seeing what did and didn’t work in other dispensaries, he came to recognize the importance of working with, not against, local governments and other regulatory bodies. As co-founder and president of Palm Springs Safe Access, he has positioned himself as a thought leader in the industry, with a dispensary model designed to address the needs and values of local communities in the U.S. and around the world.
A carpenter by trade and horticulturalist by calling, Cody Henderson became involved in the medical cannabis industry soon after the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996. He has over eighteen years’ experience designing and building state-of-the-art medical cannabis cultivation spaces, and through study and experimentation he has developed agricultural techniques that produce the highest quality medicine without potentially toxic commercial inputs. As a co- founder of Palm Springs Safe Access, he has been an ardent champion of safe, natural growing practices and independent lab testing to ensure product safety and effectiveness.
Cody has also brought his extensive experience as a designer/builder into the development of PSSA’s dispensary space. He brings a modernist, cutting-edge sensibility to the interior design program, playing with the juxtaposition of materials such as glass, wood, and stainless steel to achieve an environment that is clean and professional, and at the same time warm and inviting – where clients can feel comfortable, relaxed, and inspired.
From its inception, the vision of PSSA has been to provide our clients with comprehensive treatment regimens based on professional medical evaluation in order to improve their overall quality of life. We are excited by the possibility of having Dr. Mandeep Singh on our team to personally oversee our patients’ treatment.
Dr. Singh is a board-certified urologist who received his medical degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, and completed his general surgery and urology training at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. In his current practice, Dr. Singh specializes in sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain, and diseases of the prostrate.
Coming from a background of rigorous scientific research and evidence-based medicine, Dr. Singh has come to recognize the “exciting and expanding array of treatment options” emerging from medical cannabis research, and he has become an active member of the medical cannabis community -- conducting research, publishing, educating patients, and advocating for medical cannabis in mainstream medical practice.
Palm Springs Safe Access, Inc., a California mutual benefit corporation, is a not-for-profit medical cannabis dispensary offering a modern, sophisticated environment for qualified patients to access affordable, high-quality, safety-tested medicine. On the cutting edge of science and technology, PSSA employs operational best practices to ensure a positive and comfortable experience for patients. PSSA offers a compassionate and holistic perspective on patient care. With its sister organization — Palm Springs Health and Wellness Center, a 501(c)(3) corporation — PSSA can tailor patient care to meet the distinctive needs of the individual patient through an appropriate combination of safe, high-quality medicine and wellness services such as acupuncture, massage therapy, counseling, and yoga. PSSA strives to be a model corporate citizen, partnering with other organizations to help improve the community’s collective health.
Palm Springs Safe Access, Inc. has taken some side streets and detours on our journey, but we can finally celebrate being back on the highway to realizing our goal of providing a world-class dispensary for a world-class city!
From mandatory lab testing to informed public advocacy, the PSSA team has always been at the forefront of medical cannabis technology and politics, exploring innovative ways to provide qualified patients with safe and lawful access to high-quality medicine.
We first opened our doors in beautiful Palm Springs in early March, 2012, as the PS Safe Access Cooperative. We launched our operation under California state law provisions -- but without a permit from the City of Palm Springs.
When, just a few months later, the City Council adopted an ordinance that significantly constrained the operation of unpermitted medical cannabis dispensaries, the Cooperative immediately recognized the will of the political establishment and voluntary shut its doors as a necessary first step toward gaining official endorsement. Thus began our two and a half year bid to win the fourth and only remaining permit to be issued by the city for a medical cannabis dispensary.
In its brief run, PS Safe Access Cooperative became the only dispensary in the Coachella Valley to do not only potency testing, but full comprehensive safety screening as well on all of its products, both flowers and edibles. After its closing, co-founders Robert Van Roo and Cody Henderson worked to establish solid lines of communication with city officials and staff, basing their case for granting PS Safe Access the remaining city permit on its demonstrated commitment to the health and safety of its patients and to the needs and values of the greater Pam Springs community.
In the fall of 2013, reflecting the spirit of cooperation with city officials that PSSA has consistently shown, Robert personally campaigned for Measure B, a tax measure designed to establish and fund a regulatory program for mandatory safety testing of dispensary products.
Soon after in January, 2014, a new entity – Palm Springs Safe Access, Inc., a California mutual benefit corporation – was formed by the old Cooperative’s co-founders, joined by physician Mandeep Singh and financial professional Bikram Sandhu. This new entity was a more sophisticated and agile permit applicant, poised to deliver a level of service and commitment to holistic wellness for qualified medical cannabis patients in the area that is unmatched by its peers.
Throughout the first half of 2014, the PSSA, Inc. team hopped through many official hoops, passing background checks, building and zoning reviews, and a building safety check. The team’s unfailing networking, cooperation, and compliance with city directives paid off when PSSA received Palm Springs city staff’s endorsement for the permit over seven other applicants.
Finally, in September, 2014 – citing “high levels of service and a professional setting” – the City Council of Palm Springs voted unanimously to grant Palm Springs Safe Access, Inc. the fourth permit to operate a medical cannabis dispensary in Palm Springs, CA.
After such a long push for official approval, we have wasted no time in breaking ground on our new, state-of-the-art, architecturally significant facility. We are now UNDER CONSTRUCTION at our site on Gene Autry Trail and well on our way to our Grand Opening in early 2015, when the highest quality, most reliably safe and effective medical cannabis products, and most effective patient consulting, will return to the Coachella Valley.
But we aren’t stopping there. In the near future, once the dispensary is fully operational, we will move forward on our vision for a “sister facility” to the dispensary -- the Palms Springs Health and Wellness Center (PSHWC). In 2012, with their primary goal of a stronger, healthier community in mind, PSSA’s co-founders applied to and received 501(c)(3) status for PSHWC, which will be a center for activities that promote the health and wellness of not just PSSA cannabis patients, but the greater Palm Springs community as well.
Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often
"Palm Springs Safe Access represents the very best of what a dispensary can be. Professional, knowledgeable, caring, clean. Clean, clean, clean!"
Michael Scott Brooks HIV Patient and PSSA Client
Jennifer Braun-Christensen Mother of three, MS Patient and PSSA Client
In recent years, a change in Palm Springs’ demographics has led to a shift in expectations of what a medical cannabis dispensary should be. We believe that medical cannabis patients need and want patient-based medicine, tailored to their individual needs, with specific information on medicinal strains and products to enable them to choose the most effective medicine for their conditions.
We also believe that our clients want to improve their overall health and well being by incorporating health-promoting practices into their daily lives, and that they will increasingly look to their prescribing doctors and medicine providers for information on the various components of a healthy lifestyle.
At PSSA, we see our role as not just providing quality medical cannabis, but equally as contributing to education about how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Our vision is to build, not just a storefront, but an environment, a place where patients and other community members can meet, relax, be inspired, and thrive – where educators can hold classes and local artists can display their work.
With the upcoming opening of our dispensary, our immediate goal is to provide safety and quality-tested medical cannabis and products, with accurate cannabinoid profiles and thorough pathogen and contaminant tests. As we get closer to our dispensary opening, we will have more specific information on products and services, but for now we expect to offer, at minimum:
Mother of three, MS Patient, and PSSA Client
The second phase of our development will revolve around the opening of our sister organization – Palm Springs Health and Wellness Center – which will be the heart of our community wellness outreach program.
Like our dispensary, the PSHWC will be a state-of-the-art facility, conceived as a community center where Palm Springs residents can immerse themselves in a health and healing culture. The Center will be the place where we offer classes on healthy living practices; nutrition and cooking; yoga, dance, and integrative martial arts; and meditation. It will also provide spaces for acupuncturists, massage therapists, and counselors.
Quality assurance of medication is one of our top priorities; making sure that we have safe and effective medication is paramount.
Independent, third-party laboratory testing is the cornerstone of our quality-assurance program. There are two primary types of quality control testing of cannabis provided by labs such as SC Laboratories and Steep Hill Labs: potency testing and safety testing.
Potency Testing: There are dozens of active compounds in cannabis. THC is the most plentiful and best known for producing the characteristic “high” of marijuana, but other compounds -- such as non-psychoactive cannabinoids and terpenes – are often much more significant in medical applications. Having a comprehensive profile of cannabinoids in medicinal cannabis products, both raw and processed, enables doctors, patients, and dispensary staff to choose the best medicine and dosage for the individual patient and his or her condition.
Michael Scott Brooks, HIV Patient and PSSA Client
Michael Scott Brooks, HIV Patient and PSSA Client
Many patients who rely on medical cannabis to relieve or manage their conditions may not realize that there are at present no regulatory standards for safe levels of pesticide or fungicide residues in medical cannabis, and no testing required for agri-chemicals or microorganisms in cannabis sold in dispensaries. With medical cannabis regulation in its infancy, PSSA believes it is up to professional dispensaries to lead the way in setting standards for the industry. PSSA’s insistence on full-spectrum, independent-laboratory testing of all medical cannabis products sold through our facility sets us apart from the vast majority of dispensaries. Testing for both potency and safety is an expensive process and adds a cost to our operations that most dispensaries don’t assume – but it’s essential to our commitment to deliver the highest level of care to our patient community.
PSSA welcomes inquiries from private individuals and groups, local and state governments, national and international policy makers, and cannabis patients interested in our model of community-oriented, cooperatively-regulated, safety-based medical cannabis dispensaries.
We are committed to helping investors and providers find their place in the industry, and to helping local and state governments navigate safety, quality, and distribution issues. We are someone to talk to -- with expertise in product safety and quality, compliance with regulations, cooperation with local, state and federal governments, and viable financial strategies.
We are especially proud of our history of working cooperatively with local and state government officials. We understand the challenges faced by elected representatives in meeting the very real needs of their medical cannabis-using constituency while addressing the legitimate concerns of their more conservative citizens.
Robert Van Roo, President, PSSA
We believe that our dispensary model has struck the right balance, meeting the needs of our clients, while addressing the legitimate concerns of local and state governments. Even policy makers at the federal level are beginning to acknowledge the groundswell of public interest and acceptance of cannabis as an important medicine and are showing a willingness to change outdated policies. We have been pleased to share our perspective with a select group of forward-thinking, influential policy advisors in Washington, D.C., and we encourage officials from all levels of government to join us in forging a national – and international – policy on medical cannabis production and distribution that meets the needs and values of all legitimate stakeholders.