Marijuana Fairs in Ojai? City extends hours of cannabis shops, plans further expansion

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Ojai’s cannabis companies will soon be able to extend their hours of operation following a city council vote on Tuesday.

The city is also considering other changes to cannabis businesses, including allowing cannabis consumption on-site, expanding the areas of the city in which businesses are permitted, and allowing cannabis cultivation in certain indoor nurseries. These questions will be referred to the Planning Commission for further study.

There are three dispensaries currently operating in the city and two manufacturing companies going through the licensing processes, said city manager James Vega.

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Dispensaries are currently open until 7 p.m. and the extension allows them to open until 10 p.m.

“We are sending a notice to dispensaries today that new hours can begin immediately,” Vega said Wednesday.

The Planning Commission will look at other cannabis-related items in early 2022, he said. Once the commission makes its recommendations, the items will be sent back to the council for a final decision, he said.

The council voted 4-1 to extend the hours and ask the Planning Commission to consider the other matters. Councilor Randy Haney was the dissenting vote.

“I would like these companies to be treated fairly,” said city councilor Suza Francina. “I am very open to all of the suggestions that are on the agenda tonight.”

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Mayor Betsy Stix said she “fully supports” the legalization of marijuana, but worries that people are walking into and out of drug lounges impaired.

“The experts have not agreed on what is too much,” Stix said. “We have to approach it from a regulatory point of view.”

Haney voted no to all potential changes and explained his reasons during a discussion about the possibility of allowing cannabis businesses, which are currently allowed in manufacturing areas, to commercial areas along the avenue. Ojai east of Park Road.

“If you really think it’s retail and it’s appropriate for retail… open it up to the city,” Haney said. “But right now what I’m hearing is, ‘Naaaah, we’re not there yet. Let’s stick to this end of town.’ I’m going to vote no on all of that. But you four, put it anywhere you want. But you’re going to own it. “

According to an August 10 staff report, the city has received approximately $ 187,600 in cannabis tax receipts since the certification of an Ojai cannabis tax measure on December 15, 2020.

Chelsea Sutula, owner of Sespe Creek Collective in Ojai, supported the measures.

“It’s not about the money,” Sutula said. “It’s about being treated fairly. Give us the same grace and consideration that you give to all the bars in town. That’s really all we’re asking for.”

Sutula said that when his income was down, so was that of the city, so if the city can help him, it would help Ojai.

Resident Bill Miley has said he does not support allowing cannabis businesses to enter more venues, consumption or cultivation fairs.

“Having cannabis parlors in our city gives a very unhealthy image to our children and adults who may wonder what it is,” Miley said. “As an example, the city allows it, maybe it’s not so bad for me.”

Resident Larry Steingold said he was in favor of cannabis companies becoming retail businesses and moving anywhere to help the city earn more income.

“Put them on Maricopa (highway) next to Vons or on Ojai Avenue,” Steingold said. “It’s just in motion.”

Vega said he was not aware of any other cannabis fairs or nurseries on site at the time in Ventura County.

Wes Woods II covers West County for the Ventura County Star. Contact him at [email protected], 805-437-0262 or https://twitter.com/JournoWes

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Ojai Extends Hours of Operation for Cannabis Companies, Considering Further Expansion



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