Ventura County is coming up on some major decisions regarding cannabis and how it will affect our community. For this post I will be speaking briefly about future dispensaries in our county. I gathered this information at the VCBH Mapping Marijuana 2017 event that was hosted yesterday. Special thanks to VCBH, Gabe Teran, Colin Disheroon, and Jim Mosher.
There is an ideal that we should be aiming for in Ventura County in regards to dispensary placement and management, and it is one that differs greatly from our current models around alcohol (which is what the State of CA based much of prop 64 around). It is within our best interest as a community to make reasonable policies that go beyond what the State of California has set in regards to closing loopholes and proper zoning.
Placement – Gabe Teran brought up the fact that many schools have alcohol vendors less than a mile from campus. This directly affects access minors have to alcoholic beverages, and needless to say it is something we have room to improve on. However, we have an opportunity in the form of dispensary placement. Dispensaries can be planned and placed away from areas where there is a high probability of youth exposure such as around parks and schools. The benefit of responsible placement is that we limit some of the variables when it comes to youth and cannabis.
Management – Part of Jim Mosher’s talk was about the difference between large companies and small locally owned storefronts. Companies and franchises focus more on making money and less on how it will affect the community, and when it comes to loopholes they will happily find said loophole and jovially drive a truck through it. On the flipside, small locally owned and operated businesses are easier to work with and generally care about the area in which they live. One such example comes from Colin Disheroon, a dispensary owner from Santa Cruz, and avid member of his community. Colin’s dispensary tracks all sales, deals with responsible growers, and is in constant positive dialogue with community partners.
In closing, Ventura County can set a standard on the safe implementation of cannabis and how it affects us locally. One part of achieving that standard is responsible planning and management. Once again, a huge thank you to VCBH for hosting Mapping Marijuana 2017 and a huge thank you to the speakers for sharing their unique insights on the issues surrounding cannabis.
Stay safe and be well Ventura County,