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Three Orange County cities took steps to regulate commercial cannabis last week.
Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at email@example.com.
Fullerton City Council decided to repeal an ordinance allowing cannabis storefronts, mere months after the body first approved the law.
Concerns over buffer zones have been circulating since the ordinance was first drafted. Some residents have also voiced fears about how legal marijuana would affect the Fullerton community if storefronts were permitted.
“I hope that our citizens and our families and our children in this community take precedence over an unknown amount of money that we might make,” Maureen Flynn-Becerra, a Fullerton resident, told the council at a meeting in February.
The body finalized the repeal of the ordinance with a 3-2 vote at its following meeting March 2.
The cities of La Habra and Costa Mesa also moved on cannabis business regulations.
La Habra City Council unanimously voted March 1 to approve the cannabis business permit process and to provide information guides for applicants.
The meeting was a follow through of La Habra residents’ vote during the November election to approve Measure W, which imposes a commercial cannabis business tax and allows for four delivery-only cannabis facilities in town, according to a staff report.
La Habra has attached drafts for the cannabis business permit application, a submittal checklist, a commercial cannabis business opportunity activity summary sheet, and a step-by-step application guide within the staff report.
The city will begin accepting cannabis business permit applications in May.
Carlos Jamarillo, deputy director of community development, explained during last week’s council meeting what staff will look for in applications moving forward.
“We evaluate an application in regards to its strength in the market…and we look at what the opportunity is in terms of sales tax generations to the city,” said Jamarillo.
Costa Mesa City Council on March 2 received a staffing plan to prepare for the implementation of Measure Q, which voters approved in November, allowing the city to adopt ordinances to regulate commercial cannabis. The measure could generate up to $3 million annually for Costa Mesa, according to a staff report.
Meanwhile, the city’s Planning Commission met Feb. 22 to consider a resolution recommending the City Council establish development standards for cannabis businesses, including those for retail storefronts in the city. Commissioners voted unanimously at the meeting to continue the public hearing to March 22.
Measure Q only allows retail cannabis in commercial zones. The measure also requires such storefronts to remain at least 1,000 feet away from daycare locations, K-12 schools, playgrounds, and homeless shelters, according to the staff report.
The public can view the commission meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. via Zoom, on Costa Mesa’s website.