United States: California Cannabis: Retail Is Coming To Orange County

United States:

California Cannabis: Retail Is Coming To Orange County

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Under California’s Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis
Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA)–the state’s general
cannabis law–cities and counties are given wide latitude as
to whether to allow commercial cannabis activities within their
borders. Many local jurisdictions have chosen to prohibit cannabis
activities altogether, or to severely restrict what types of
activities will be allowed and/or how many businesses can

To date, virtually all of the cities in Orange County have been
on that list. As it stands, Santa Ana is the only city in the
entire county that has storefront retailers (Stanton’s license
process started late last year), but the number of retailers there
is limited and licensing has been closed for a while. Other cities
within the county currently allow non-storefront retail (e.g.,
Costa Mesa which allows very limited non-retail activities). But
overall, consumers who want legal cannabis in Orange County need to
either leave the county or commute to Santa Ana.

That all may change relatively soon, as a number of cities in
Orange County are in the process of setting up retail storefront
licensing or at least seriously considering it. Much of this
started in the November elections, when voters in Costa Mesa,
Laguna Woods, and La Habra approved retail cannabis measures. Also
in 2020, Fullerton and Stanton approved
retail measures (Statnton’s licensing process happened in
2020). Let’s take a deeper look at some of these efforts and
where they stand:

  • Costa Mesa: The city
    is in the process of adopting an ordinance, but
    it’s not done yet and may need more working out and hearings
    are set for later this month. We may have more insight on Costa
    Mesa in the coming weeks and months.
  • Fullerton: It
    appears that on March 2, 2021, the city council adopted an
    ordinance repealing an earlier ordinance that would have allowed
    for cannabis businesses in the city. So it looks like Fullerton may
    not be moving forward for the time being.
  • La Habra: La Habra
    will allow up to 4 retail licenses with the application process
    likely kicking off in a few months. This means that this will be a
    seriously competitive licensing process and businesses that are
    interested are probably already starting to look at local law and
    real estate.

It’s also worth noting that this shift towards cannabis
retail is not uniform throughout the county. For example, in 2020,
Anaheim’s city council narrowly rejected efforts to allow cannabis
retail. That said, we fully expect that other cities in the county
will continue to open up for licensing, and that even cities like
Anaheim will eventually reconsider after they realize the tax
revenues they are missing.

California Cannabis: Retail Is Coming To Orange

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