SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) — More than 14,000 Santa Ana residents voted to approve Measure BB on Tuesday, passing the measure regulating medical marijuana dispensaries, collectives and cooperatives. This will mean big changes for medical marijuana pot shop owners, as well as their customers.
“The voters have spoken. It will give a lot of clarity as to what is allowed, what isn’t allowed, and where they’re allowed,” said Karen Haluza, interim executive director of the Santa Ana Planning and Building Agency.
Even though they’ve been banned for several years, as many as 100 pot shops exist in Santa Ana. The city says under Measure BB, that number could drop to as few as eight next year.
The city expects to collect 5 percent of gross-sales receipts, about $1.5 million per year, money it plans to put into enforcement to try to keep rogue pot shops closed.
Tighter regulations will keep legal dispensaries at least 500 feet from each other and 1,000 feet from a school, home or park.
They must be located in one of two industrial areas where the city will allow dispensaries after voters passed Measure BB.
After applying to the city and undergoing background checks, an independent company will choose the businesses by lottery.
“Overall, people, I think, will feel better knowing they’re going to a location where the city permits it, knows that they’re there, pays taxes,” said Kandice Hawes, principal officer with the Committee to Support Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative.
Park Allenbach is proud of the medical marijuana dispensary he manages, Orange County’s Patient Care in Santa Ana.
“Most of our clientele is well over 21 years old and that’s why they come to us, because we’re trustworthy and they know we’re professional,” said Allenbach.
In business for four years, the shop sits in one of the two approved industrial areas.
“When this location was chosen, it was chosen very carefully,” said Allenbach.
Despite careful planning, Allenbach’s shop is not guaranteed a spot due to the lottery.
“I’m not really in favor of a lottery process,” said Kandice Hawes. “There’s a lot of people that put tens of thousands of dollars into these locations. I liked the process that we had that was just first-come, first-served.”