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Store selling cannabis bath and skin products wins approval in Laguna Beach

Patrick Murphy stands with his wife, Sherrie, and daughter Kristina outside Laguna Beach City Hall on Wednesday night, when the Planning Commission approved his application to open a store selling CBD products. (Photo by Faith E. Pinho)

Just over two years after a large majority of Laguna Beach residents voted against having medical marijuana dispensaries in town, the city Planning Commission on Wednesday night approved a store that plans to sell products containing cannabidiol oil, a non-psychoactive component of industrial hemp, a form of the cannabis plant.

On a 4-1 vote, with member Anne Johnson dissenting, the commission approved a conditional use permit for the first location of Lagona Apothecary at 206 N. Coast Hwy. The business plans to sell skincare products, soaps and bath bombs containing CBD.

At least half the store’s merchandise will be devoted to owner Patrick Murphy’s private label, Lagona Apothecary. The name is an allusion to a post office founded in Laguna Beach in 1887, according to Murphy’s application.

The store will not carry food items containing CBD or smoking paraphernalia such as vapes or products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, the component of cannabis that produces a high.

Murphy said the minimum age for purchasing in his store is 18, though he is willing to raise it to 21.

Commissioner Ken Sadler emphasized the difference between marijuana dispensaries and a CBD shop. He noted that while there are no physical dispensaries in Laguna Beach, there are marijuana delivery services such as Bud Man.

“People are conflating this with marijuana, and that’s just not the case,” Sadler said. “If they want to get high, they’re going to go to a marijuana dispensary and get marijuana. … I look at this almost as a nutritional supplement.”

Murphy said he has used CBD “to help me with my own arthritis and it has prevented me from having a hip replacement. As long as I keep my weight down and continue my treatments, I feel I may be able to avoid the surgery altogether.”

“I’m here tonight because I like Laguna Beach,” he said. “I enjoy the atmosphere coming here. I believe there’s some magic here.”

In 2016, 70% of local voters rejected Measure KK, which would have repealed the city’s ban on marijuana dispensaries.

The following year, the City Council unanimously approved an ordinance banning commercial cultivation, distribution and sale of recreational cannabis.

Johnson said she voted against the business Wednesday because of the ballot measure vote and because she felt Murphy didn’t present enough evidence of the product’s quality.

“I’m more interested in what our community indicated in Measure [KK] and what’s been presented tonight,” Johnson said. “I don’t think we need this in our town at this time.”

Commission Chairman Roger McErlane said the permit approval can be appealed to the City Council within two weeks.

A few residents joined Johnson in speaking against the shop.

“The citizens of Laguna Beach voted loud and clear that we don’t want marijuana products of any kind,” said Jon Conk, whose wife, Kelly, brought letters signed from several other residents who oppose the store.

Another cause for concern among residents was a lack of federal regulation on products containing CBD.

“There’s so much we don’t know and there’s so little research that’s been done,” resident John Thomas said. “The entire field is evolving so quickly. The lack of knowledge is enormous.”

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Faith E. Pinho on Los Angeles Times

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Published: January 24, 2019
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