by Paul Peterson
Ventura citizens filled the Community Meeting Room in City Hall on September 28 to express their views on the pending cannabis regulations.
The unity in the room was palpable as numerous personal stories were presented in favor of the need for easier access to medical cannabis, delivery services, convenient storefronts and growing pot, indoors and out. Responsible suggestions and positions in favor of these issues were offered. Several seriously ill patients expressed the difficulty of traveling outside the county to get medication due to our local restrictions. The overall message to the council was clear, that citizens want and expect our city to respond to the will of the people. It seemed the questions waiting for the council’s answers at the October 9th meeting was not if but when and how fast to move.
“I’m glad we had the opportunity to hear from the community regarding the City’s policy on marijuana/cannabis. We will be providing the City Council their options and recommendation at the October 9th City Council meeting”, reported Jeffrey Lambert, Community Development Director.
It is expected that the recommendation will only include medical marijuana deliveries within the city and nothing for recreational access.
There is a great potential income to the city coffers, in addition to making sure citizens have safe access to what they have voted for, which includes the right to own and cultivate small amounts of marijuana. There are also jobs at stake. There have been a number of high profile conventions in the LA area catering to various elements of this budding new industry.
The Emerald Exchange, held in Thousand Oaks in August was a Renaissance Faire-like presentation of growers, collectives and new cannabis related products that have sprouted up around them. “We had over 1,000 attendees and over 50 brands represented”, reported event organizer Michael Katz (emeraldexchange.com). It was the ancillary products that carried the day. Offerings of new derivatives from the cannabis plant including extracts used as medicine, tinctures and infusion into foods were dominant. There were seminars on the use of cannabis for treatment of PTSD, seizures and chronic pain. Celebrity stoner Tommy Chong of the comedy duo Cheech & Chong was on hand to represent his latest line of pipes. But the main focus was on multi-course meals specially prepared with varying levels of cannabis infused. Other companies offered baked goods from cookies to brownies but now extending to juices, teas, coffees, soda, beer, chocolates and desserts. The future of the pot industry seems to not only be healthy and smell good, but taste good too.
Those interested in investing in this blossoming industry gathered at the MJAC Conference September 1 and 2 in downtown LA to bring cannabis product entrepreneurs together with investors. It was a Shark Tank for pot related products and services. A panel of judges awarded cash on the spot to lucky entrepreneurs. Among those were CBD pills that extract only pot’s pain relieving qualities, not the psychoactive qualities and could soon be available as a supplement over the counter. There was a stylish, odorless humidifier for home pot storage and a line of luxury aroma free purses and handbags to carry your stash to the girl’s night out. “We aren’t guilty teenagers anymore, it’s a new cannabis culture” declared the creator.
Business was also brisk at the Cannabis World Conference at the LA Convention Center September 13-15. The Reverend Al Sharpton delivered a spirited keynote address calling for legalization with diversity and fairness in the new industry. “This can’t be an industry where blacks go to jail and whites go to the bank”, he stated. Opportunity for all was the message. The presence of larger manufacturing companies bringing their expertise to the business was also apparent as the level of industry acumen rises to meet the massive pending demand. Those looking to start large or small grow farms, collectives, pot shops and related items found everything they needed to open their storefronts from products to packaging to promotion to navigating the legal hurdles. It is those legal ground rules that are the most complex, depending on where you are in the state.
That brings us back to the Ventura City Council and how they will rule and what guidelines will be set after considering their citizen’s input.
Editor: We would love to hear your thoughts on this very important issue. Editor@venturabreeze.com