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Two Orange County city councils will meet this Tuesday to discuss cannabis — Lake Forest is looking to further regulate it and Santa Ana will get an update on what types of youth services cannabis tax revenue is funding. 

Santa Ana City Council members are expected to hear an update on what types of youth services and activities funded by nearly $3.4 million allocated to the city’s public benefit fund from marijuana tax.

According to the city budget, Santa Ana expects to make $10.7 million in tax revenue from its cannabis dispensaries.

Some of these youth services include renovating a children’s outdoor playhouse, providing free monthly field trips after the pandemic for Santa Ana residents ages 10-14 and building fitness courts, among other programs, according to the staff report

The marijuana tax revenue has already paid for 320 internet hotspots for the city’s children. 

City officials are looking to renovate the Santa Anita soccer field, hire more youth center staff and bolster their deportation defense fund for DACA residents. 

The city is also implementing anti-drug education programs for students in elementary, middle and high school. 

“Virtual class curriculum focused on preventing and/or reducing alcohol, tobacco/vape, marijuana, and opioid and methamphetamine use among youth,” the staff report states. “All youth are encouraged to participate and learn to live a drug free life.”

According to the update, cannabis is producing enough tax revenue to continue offering paid summer work internships to about 100 teenagers between ages 16 to 19. 

The enrollment process is slated to be completed in April and the program would be fully operational from June to August. 

Santa Ana was the first city in Orange County to approve retail dispensaries, followed by Fullerton. 

The Lake Forest City Council will meet on Tuesday to consider tightening guidelines for marijuana testing labs that are allowed to function within the city’s industrial zoning districts. 

The council has already issued permits for two testing labs, Sunstar/Green Forest Laboratories United Labs, but neither of them have started business. 

Sunstar is waiting to obtain a state license, while United has yet to submit its state license application, according to the staff report

In February 18 2020, the council first voted to allow up to two marijuana testing labs to operate with a city-issued permit only in specific industrial zoning districts. Labs are currently required to be at least 600 feet away from school and day care centers, the report said. 

At Tuesday’s meeting the council will decide whether to repeal the current ordinance which allows for testing labs. 

If council members repeal the ordinance, Sunstar and United would still be allowed to operate, but it would limit their ability to expand their use or make specific structural changes to their buildings.

Anthony Robledo is a reporting intern for Voice of OC. He can be reached at arobledo@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @AnthonyARobledo

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