Santa Paula: 2019 Cannabis Community Workshop

By Sheryl Hamlin

With a full house in the guest section, as well as in the lobby and around the dais, the Assistant City Manager opened with “this is a community meeting and we are seeking your input”. The council is currently revisiting the cannabis ordinance which currently prohibits everything except testing. The staff intends to summarize and report back to council, most of whom were in the audience.


The panel included: Ikani Taumoepeau, Assistant City Manager (ACM), Andrew Salinas, Port Hueneme Police Chief, Steve McLean, Santa Paula Police Chief and James Mason, Community Development Director. Attorney Cotti was also noted, although he did not speak.

Staff Presentations

Starting with recent history of legal changes in California, the Assistant CM moved on to five types of licenses which could be included in the city’s revised ordinance:

-retail/delivery
-manufacturing (edibles, tinctures, oils, etc)
-cultivation (indoor or outdoor )
-distribution
-testing

Note that delivery is not distribution. A licensed distributor picks up the product from the cultivator and transports it to the appropriate manufacturer, said the ACM. There does not appear to be a category of “wholesale”, although there are wholesalers.

For details on the distribution process, clilck here. The distribution license has many restrictions and responsibilities, explained here.

Not discussed at the meeting, it is clear that Distributors are the power players in the industry just like liquor industry distributors, which is evident by the limited number of distribution permits the state has granted.

In late 2018, Sacramento voted to allow cannabis delivery even in locales which ban cannabis, which means Santa Paula can be serviced by Ojai very easily with respect to delivery times. Read here

For California Cannabis information, visit this official site or click here for another California site from Public Health.

Various cities studied for offerings

James Mason, Community Development Director, explained potential regulations for locating the businesses including distances from school and best locations for cultivation, which according to their research would be near the river bed.

In addition to the type of licenses, the location of the business and the number of such must be included in the ordinance. Examples of a site issue would be how close the retailer is to a school and fearing smell how close would cultivation be to residential.

With several years’ experience, Ojai has decided to let businesses downtown in the tourist area rather than in the business district. .

To download the staff presentation, click here.

Panel Speakers

Chief Salinas of the Port Hueneme Police Department said that the city had not put limits on the number of cannabis businesses. There are five retail with two in queue and two more potential. There have been no complaints of noise, smell or traffic. With armed guards and lighting, the security is high. He has a phone app where he can view security cameras. Sales are doing well and owners are buying buildings due to their success. He mentioned youth issues and decoy operations.

Santa Paula Police Chief McClean said he realized the need for education so he visited various cities including Greenfield, California, where the Chief of Greenfield said he could smell it. The shop was clinical and secure like Fort Knox, he said. There is a uniformed, armed security guard 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Citizen Speakers

The Assistant CM announced that there would be no ceding of time at this meeting. The audience heard from 34 speakers.

First Speaker

Most speakers overwhelmingly opposed any types of cannabis businesses. Some advocated a “wait and see” approach”. Robert Ramirez asked about CBD, which was not on the agenda. Several cited the letter from DA Toten about the problems with cannabis. Read the Toten letter here. The concern was directed mostly to youth usage of drugs.

The In-take Coordinator for the Hillmont Psychiatric Center in Ventura said that 70% of the incoming patients are on drugs. There is a direct correlation she sees between mental illness and drug use. The information from the urine analysis usually indicates cannabis or cannabis plus other drugs like opiates, heroin or meth. She sees this every day five days a week where patients come from outlying ER’s. These patients are suffering and drugs have ruined their lives, she said. The psychiatrists have to know the type of drugs in order to plan their treatment. These patients are on MediCal which is a societal expense.

Joe Kyle reminded the audience that “prohibition never worked” and that storefronts should look like something else.

One speaker with painful Chron’s Disese said she needed the cannabis for pain and did not want to wait for delivery or drive to other cities.

One of the owners of a cannabis shop in Port Hueneme spoke saying he has three children. Most of his clients are middle aged customers, some from Santa Paula. Each package is highly tracked, he said.

Dot Voting

The Assistant CM posted a large chart where the audience could vote as to where services should be located. This will be forth coming.

The summary and recommendations from the staff will be presented in the near future.

To watch the video click here.

To download the entire staff presentation: Presentation PPT_v5

 

For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com


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One Response to Santa Paula: 2019 Cannabis Community Workshop

  1. Alfred Estrella March 3, 2019 at 10:44 am

    I’m sorry but I found that the input from the public was ill informed. And the intake coordinator for Hillmont has never made it out of her comfortable surroundings. Instead no one ever asked or “TALKED”. There was no dialog and dialog is what is needed ir the program will be an up hill battle. The Monolog was a failure.

    Reply

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