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Orange County Fair board to weigh options for the future of cannabis at Costa Mesa site

Jeanine and Mike Robbins, owners of Paradise Cigars, show glassware they are forbidden to sell at the O.C. fairgrounds because of a policy preventing any cannabis-related products, ads, sponsorships and paraphernalia.  (Kevin Chang / Daily Pilot)

The Costa Mesa venue is where, for the last two decades, she and her husband, Mike, have been selling smoking-related merchandise at high-traffic events like the annual Orange County Fair and ongoing swap meets as co-owners of Paradise Cigars, an operation run out of a mobile humidor.

However, these days business isn’t what it used to be, due in part to a 2018 policy prohibiting the sales of glass pipes associated with marijuana smoking and products containing cannabidiol (CBD), derived from cannabis plants — two big moneymakers for the small-business owners.

“Cannabis is legal here in the state of California, and this is a state property,” Robbins said. “CBD should be allowed to be sold. Glass products should be allowed to be sold.”

Pipes owned by Jeanine and Mike Robbins account for 30% of their nventory, yet they cannot be sold at the fairgrounds.
Pipes owned by Jeanine and Mike Robbins account for 30% of their business’ inventory, yet they cannot be sold at the fairgrounds.  (Kevin Chang / Daily Pilot)

Now, the couple’s Anaheim home doubles as a de facto storage unit for tubs containing custom-blown glass creations and bottles of tinctures and roll-ons designed to ease pain or stress (purported attributes of cannabidiol) without getting users “high.”

Currently, cannabis is prohibited at all events on the fairgrounds, as is the sale or marketing of any product containing CBD or THC, the psychoactive compound in the plant. Marijuana paraphernalia is also forbidden. But change may be on the horizon.

Last week, the Orange County Fair & Event Center Board of Directors authorized staff to review its Cannabis Event Policy and determine whether its prohibitions might be adjusted. The decision was made at the recommendation of a governance committee that regularly reviews policies.

Committee member Sandra Cervantes explained at a Feb. 24 board meeting that attitudes and trends around marijuana products have shifted since the policy was adopted.

CBD products are becoming widely used among American consumers, yet are forbidden from the O.C. fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.
CBD products are becoming widely used among American consumers yet are forbidden at the O.C. fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Now, fair officials are considering whether to loosen the ban. (Kevin Chang / Daily Pilot)

“Since that time, CBD products, which contain trace amounts of THC, have become widely acceptable and available throughout Orange County,” Cervantes said. “Staff shared [that] many … event promoters would like to include vendors at their events who sell CBD products but are prohibited by the current policy.”

OCFEC Executive Director Michele Richards confirmed the site has received requests regarding pet products containing CBD and questions about whether the online dispensary locator and review portal Weedmaps might be an event sponsor.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Sara Cardine on Los Angeles Times

Published: March 08, 2022

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1 Comment
  • Keiko Beatie
    March 14, 2022 at 12:28 PM

    The California State Fair will be highlighting cannabis for the first time this summer 2022. If our State Fair is opening up the competition for cannabis why can’t other vendors be a part of this as well?
    Thank you for your openness to discuss this topic.
    Most sincerely,
    Keiko Beatie

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