SANTA ANA — Legal medical marijuana dispensaries asked Santa Ana to give them more flexibility to run their businesses, and the city is heeding those requests.
In a 5-0 vote Tuesday night, June 20, the Santa Ana City Council approved a handful of amendments to Measure BB, the city’s medical marijuana ordinance. Mayor Miguel Pulido abstained due to a conflict of interest.
Since Measure BB was approved by voters in 2014, the city established an enforcement program and administrative policies to regulate 20 lottery-selected cannabis operators and 15 have opened. With revenue collected from the legal operations, the city cracked down on illegal pot shops, dwindling their numbers from more than 120 to as few as 10.
Dispensary owners and stakeholders in roundtable discussions in May 2016 and last February provided recommendations for code amendments that would help their businesses succeed. The amendments approved Tuesday will “treat the collectives/cooperatives similar to other establishments where prescription drugs are sold,” the staff report states.
The amendments include changing pot delivery from completely prohibited to allowing it to be sent to qualified patients, caregivers or testing and research and development facilities, and extending dispensary operating hours from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays, to 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
In addition, the existing overnight cash limit was $200 was eliminated, consistent with any other commercial establishment. The sign allowance was broadened from one non-illuminated wall sign up to 10 square feet in size to allow wall signs to be installed in compliance with the city’s standard sign code.
“I do think it’s important that we revisit this issue periodically and I don’t think these will be the only adjustments in the near future,” said Councilman Vincent Sarmiento, who led efforts to implement the modifications.
Licensed shops were projected to generate $1.5…