Cannabis Operations In Ventura Are Stopped Due To Appeals As Frustration Increases!

Ventura cannabis business appeal hearings will begin the following month, but some applicants who applied for a permit in the summer of 2021 are growing impatient. Four companies that wanted to start a cannabis business were chosen by the city to receive permits last year. Five applicants who were denied permits have filed an appeal of the ruling.

The decision to open stores is still pending for some of the finalists. According to Christopher de la Vega, assistant city attorney, officials are still in contact with the appellants to schedule the appeal hearings, which are expected to begin the first week of February. They will be conducted before a hearing officer and most likely last no more than a day, he said.

Finalists might be required to reapply, essentially starting over, depending on how the hearings turn out, according to de la Vega. In the interim, until we know the outcome of the appeals, de la Vega said, “I think it will be difficult to do anything other than speculate.” There are numerous moving parts.

The city’s application process has perplexed some applicants. Brandon Salzer, a co-owner of Salzer’s Records who collaborated with the Port Hueneme-based Safeport Dispensary to open a potential business at the Salzer’s Video building at 5801 Valentine Road, was not chosen and has appealed the decision.

Salzer remarked, “I believe everyone is somewhat perplexed. “The entire process has been frustrating because there has never been a chance to simply talk about our proposal with anyone in the city. Of all the businesses involved, I think we have the best physical location.”

Ventura is losing out on potential tax revenue to cities like Port Hueneme, Ojai, Thousand Oaks, and most recently, Oxnard because the procedure is taking so long. stated Salzer. The CEO of Zasa Inc., which owns Wheelhouse in Port Hueneme, Zahur Lalji, was chosen for a Ventura permit. He wants to open as soon as possible while he waits for the appeals process to be finished.

Cannabis Operations In Ventura Are Stopped Due To Appeals As Frustration Increases!

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Lalji stated, “I just think the city should let the winners move forward.” “We could start generating revenue and attracting customers and then, after the city has already undergone the process, let them decide what they want to do moving forward.”

On October 21st, Alex McIntyre, a former city manager, chose four cannabis businesses—three retail and one distribution. For private personnel issues unrelated to the cannabis application process, the City Council placed McIntyre on paid administrative leave in November. McIntyre left his position in December.

On December 5, the council debated whether to approve the operation of two more cannabis businesses in the downtown coastal zone. The idea of starting over and letting the interim city manager choose five fresh candidates from the nine finalists was also discussed by the council. Finally, the panel decided against that choice as well.

No action by the City Council would be required if all appeals are rejected and the city’s choice is upheld, according to de la Vega. “That’s a whole different ballgame if a decision is made in favor of one of the applicants,” he said. I don’t think there’s any accurate or reasonable way to answer that question, de la Vega said when asked if the four chosen business owners should feel confident that they can move forward.

According to de la Vega, the applicants have not filed any lawsuits. In the first full year of operation, cannabis firms are anticipated to generate between $600,000 and $700,000 to pay for city services. To assist in the finalist selection process, the city recruited Brea-based consultant Hinderliter, de Llamas & Associates.

Read More: Entrepreneur Keri-Ann Evans Discusses CBD and Marijuana!

The three retail businesses selected are:

  • Responsible and Compliant Retail Ventura, 1890 E. Main St.
  • TAT Ventura, 2835 E. Main St.
  • Zasa LLC, 4591 Market St.

According to Yesenia Anderson, an assistant city attorney, more than $114,000 has been paid to the firm since July. The only applicant for a distribution permit was Ventura’s Finest, 3037 Golf Course Drive, and their application was approved.

The distribution company will not engage in retail. Voters in Ventura adopted a ballot initiative to tax marijuana across the city in November 2020. The City Council passed laws allowing commercial cannabis production in Ventura in February 2021.

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