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Chamber of Commerce lunch turns spotlight on Costa Mesa’s cannabis industry

Since local voters passed Measure X in 2016, Costa Mesa has granted permits for nine marijuana businesses in an area designated for researching, testing, processing and manufacturing some cannabis products. (File Photo / AP)


In talking with the assorted cannabis-related vendors stationed in Costa Mesa’s Avenue of the Arts hotel Wednesday, two things became clear:

1. They were thankful to the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce for hosting an educational luncheon to spotlight one of the city’s newest industries.

2. Such an event would have been almost unthinkable in the not-too-distant past.

“This couldn’t have happened a year ago — it probably couldn’t have happened six months ago,” said Eric Spitz, co-founder and chief executive of a cannabis distribution company called C4 Distro. “Frankly, we weren’t sure we were going to get a hotel that was going to let us in.”

“The acceptance of cannabis is evolving,” said Spitz, who previously was chairman and president of the former parent company of the Orange County Register.

That acceptance was one of the main takeaways of Wednesday’s event, which drew about 125 people who are either involved with or interested in learning more about Costa Mesa’s cannabis business community.

Before the official program — which included a panel discussion with representatives of local cannabis firms — guests chatted with people from different companies and discussed their services and products.

Some businesses offered samples of their wares, such as topical creams and water infused with cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabis extract.

“The cannabis businesses that are here today operate lawfully. They pay taxes; they will be supporting our community’s economy,” said chamber Chief Executive Eileen Benjamin. “They are equal stakeholders in our community.”

In Costa Mesa, businesses that research, test, process and manufacture some marijuana products are allowed in a specified area north of South Coast Drive and west of Harbor Boulevard.

Local voters approved those operations with the passage of Measure X in 2016, and businesses recently have started to work their way through the city’s approval process.

So far, Costa Mesa has granted permits for nine marijuana businesses in the designated zone, and more than a dozen other applications are in the hopper, according to Jim Fitzpatrick, a former planning commissioner who works as a consulting “solutioneer” for cannabis businesses.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Luke Money on Los Angeles Times

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Published: May 16, 2018

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