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Budget-Strapped Orange County Cities Turn to Cannabis for New Revenue

A bud tender displays a jar of cannabis at the High Times 420 SoCal Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino, Calif. on April 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — Strapped for cash, some Orange County cities are turning to a green source to help make up budget shortfalls from the coronavirus catalyzed downturn.

A month after the election, four cities are now allowing or expanding their existing cannabis operations at a time when the global pandemic has hit city revenue hard.

Last month, the Fullerton City Council approved five retail dispensaries and other cannabis operations within the city.

During the election, voters in Costa Mesa voted in favor of having licensed cannabis retail storefronts and delivery services. The city had already allowed for cannabis manufacturing, testing, and distribution.

La Habra voters also approved for the city to authorize cannabis delivery operations. La Habra currently allows cannabis distribution and testing facilities.

And Stanton, which had passed a measure last year that allows for cannabis operations, including retail storefronts and manufacturing, has begun accepting applications to get its cannabis program ball rolling.

Meanwhile, Laguna Woods residents voted in favor of the city to establish the retail sale of medical or non-medical marijuana in the city.

Once implemented, Fullerton, Stanton, and Costa Mesa will join Santa Ana as cities in Orange County that allow for cannabis retail storefronts.

“For Costa Mesa and La Habra, this is the next step and evolution of allowing cannabis retail and deliveries into their cities,” said Jennifer McGrath, a former Huntington Beach city attorney and now specializing in cannabis regulation. “We expect applications for retail cannabis in Fullerton to begin in January.”

The new measures supporting cannabis operations come amid a global pandemic that has hurt city budgets. Several cities across Orange County have reported massive budget shortfalls due to the pandemic economy. As a way to make up some of the shortfalls, cities are turning to recreational cannabis businesses to help fill in the gap.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Joseph Pimentel on Spectrum News 1

Published: December 02, 2020

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