Dispensary Profile: River City Phoenix

By Lacey Macri
Published: April 1, 2017 | Last updated: April 9, 2021
Key Takeaways

Being a dispensary in Sacramento a few years ago was difficult, but River City Phoenix learned from the challenges and has survived to be one of the city’s top dispensaries. Lacey Macri took a tour and discovered that along with great service and products, the people at RCP care about their community as well.

Located in the heart of California’s capital of Sacramento, River City Phoenix (RCP) is one of the biggest and highest-rated dispensaries in the region. Serving approximately 600 customers per day, RCP takes its business very seriously.


Its core values are rooted in a compassion for helping people live higher-quality lives. RCP’s success did not come easily, however, as there have been many complicated hurdles to clear along the way in order to continue serving patients.

From 2009 to 2012, several of the decision-makers that currently make up the courteous and knowledgeable staff at RCP were busy running Magnolia Wellness out of Roseville, CA. When the laws suddenly changed and dispensaries were forced to close in Roseville, they quickly shifted gears and joined the team over at RCP.


In 2008, RCP itself was raided, which forced the dispensary to be very diplomatic about how it would conduct its business going forward. In 2012, the DEA suited up in front of RCP and raided the neighboring dispensary, which never reopened. The DEA then sent multiple letters to RCP’s landlord, threatening to take the building away from them.

For fear of being sent to jail, being heavily fined, or even losing the building completely, the landlord proposed that, in order to be worth the risk, he was increasing RCP’s rent from $5,000 to $35,000 per month, with only a month-to-month commitment to lean on.

Fortunately for RCP, the City of Sacramento maintained very good rapport with the company, as it produced a lot of tax revenue through the business. The City of Sacramento is very compliant with the state’s laws in general, drafting ordinances consistent with that of the state’s.


Although California recently legalized recreational marijuana, there is still a lot to be drafted and will most likely not be complete until 2019. RCP intends to remain in compliance with all laws that are thrown its way while continuing to improve and grow it business.

When asked what makes their medicine superior to others, RCP said every strain that comes through the door goes through an extensive testing phase, where its examines the terpene content, potency, and whether or not there are pesticides present.


It strictly adheres to a zero-tolerance policy for residual pesticide content on any medicine that is admitted into the dispensary. RCP is also keen on bringing in flowers that have aesthetic beauty and fragrance, as it all contributes to the patient’s overall experience of medicating.

Mark Pelter, owner of RCP, is very actively involved in the research and testing aspect of cannabis, and he shared some very interesting points with us during our visit. One point that is particularly relevant was a study he’d observed examining the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on cancer cells.

After synthesizing CBD in a lab, researchers gathered rats with brain cancer and injected the synthesized CBD into their tumors. In the control group of rats, the tumors metastasized to other areas of their bodies; however, in the group that received treatment, their tumors died within two months. Pelter describes CBD cannabis as “heaven in a tablet, that feels like a warm, positive glow of well-being.” He said he firmly believes in not only the relief that CBD provides its patients, but its healing power as well.

When the team members at RCP aren’t busy serving their patients, they participate in several outreach programs to give back to the community. One of the community benefit programs they lead is the Full Belly Backpack program through the Mercy HIV/ AIDS Housing Alliance program.

Full Belly Backpack provides backpacks full of nutritious meals that are delivered to underprivileged and potentially malnourished kids on the weekends when they are away from federally funded school programs.

Additionally, they hold after-school and summer school programs at the Hagginwood Community Center, where they provide fun snacks and entertainment to young students in an effort to keep them on the right track by offering healthy, positive outlets to engage in during their spare time.

Patients of RCP can also take advantage of some free in-house services including acupuncture and chiropractic services for those suffering from chronic pain and other conditions. The team at RCP reports being very grateful for having opportunities to conduct and participate in programs like this, as it is the most fulfilling part of the job.

Next up for RCP includes registering as cultivators; it originally had cultivation on site, but that was shut down. As operations in California continue to smooth out over the next few years, RCP hopes to expand in the recreational cannabis market into other states including Alaska, Oregon, and Washington.

River City Phoenix can be found at 1508 El Camino Ave. in Sacramento, California. Its friendly and knowledgeable staff is waiting to serve you.


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Written by Lacey Macri

Profile Picture of Lacey Macri
Lacey Macri works as head of sales at CleanGrow Ltd., focusing her time on business development within the company. She received a bachelor’s degree in communications and psychology from the University of California, Davis in 2011, where she worked at the California Aggie student newspaper on campus.

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