Despite state legalization almost a year ago, cannabis business owners in Lompoc are scrambling to meet a deadline with a very narrow window of opportunity.
In a move that could streamline the process for local marijuana shops, the Lompoc City Council held an emergency meeting Monday to help expedite the process.
Since March 1st, Lompoc has received close to two dozen cannabis applications and only a handful have been approved. It’s a rigorous three-step process to get the OK from the city and until Monday night, those folks were in limbo.
“The number one question I’m asked is when is the first shop going to open in Lompoc,” said Joe A. Garcia, Co-Founder of the Lompoc Valley Cannabis Coalition.
Lompoc’s marijuana industry is in a race against time.
“We look forward to opening our retail cannabis store at the old Blacksmith’s Restaurant and revitalizing Old Town,” said Christine Bates.
But in order for folks like Bates to set up shop, they have to get the OK from both the city and the state.
“You must have that letter from the City of Lompoc to be able to go ahead and apply with the state,” said a woman representing several applicants.
With a looming December 1st deadline imposed by the state, the clock is ticking.
“What this does is simply allow for these businesses, which are currently in the process of acquiring a local permit, to begin the state application process and meet the deadline set by the BCC,” said Garcia.
The Lompoc City Council voted unanimously to issue letters of authorization to all pending local cannabis applications.
“Without this, the applicant may not may not get a license for a year or more and a lot of them are paying rent on buildings that they have because they’re trying to get in and get the business up and running. So by doing this it helps the applicant, it helps the city, I’ll love the tax revenue coming in from the sales,” said Jim Throop, Lompoc City Manager.
Throop says Lompoc is following in the footsteps of larger cities like Long Beach and Los Angeles.
“One of the documentations from Los Angeles City, it does say that this isn’t a guarantee that the state will accept them it states that they’re willing to look at it but so far they’ve been accepting the letters,” said Throop.
Marijuana stakeholders reinforced those claims, emphasizing the city’s role in the process.
“If someone does not meet your criteria or is not in the proper zoning you can notify the State of that and even if they have a temporary license you can have them pulled from the State,” said LVCA President John De Friel.
Now, the city begins the lofty task of getting over 20 agreements for the applicants to sign sent out by Tuesday.
Applicants will then have to sign the agreements and return them to the city to get their approval letters. All of this ideally must happen before Friday.