Costa Mesa leaders, chamber officials and business owners, who attended a city state lunch Thursday, reflected on how the city has weathered the pandemic thanks to a shared desire to support each other and the place they call home .
And as they did so, they welcomed the newest members of the Costa Mesa business community – cannabis retailers soon to be legally able to operate in town.
“Cannabis is coming to town,” said Mayor John Stephens at the Segerstrom Concert Hall event, urging industry representatives to raise their hands and paying tribute to the 20 or more who did it.
“Thank you for being here,” he continued. “You have a real partnership with a friendly government that wants you to be successful.”
Councilor Manuel Chavez speaks as Councilors Loren Gameros, Arlis Reynolds, Jeff Harlan and Mayor Pro Tem Andrea Marr view the annual State of the City lunch at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Thursday.
(Don Leach / employee photographer)
For the first time, retail pharmacy owners are offered a seat at the table while elected officials and the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce seek to legitimize a trading company that creates new tax revenue and forges new business partnerships.
In June, the city council passed ordinances regulating the sale and supply of cannabis in retail, effectively implementing Measure Q, an election initiative passed by voters in November. Owners can begin filing conditional use permit applications from August 2nd.
With a multitude of potential applicants looking to hang a clapboard in Costa Mesa, the Chamber seizes the opportunity to increase its membership. At a virtual “cannabis kickoff” event on June 16, officials urged pharmacy owners to attend and sponsor local events such as the State of the City address.
In return, they would help write letters of support that business owners could include in their applications to the city.
Join us for our annual State of the City address, our biggest signature event of the year! This is going to be such a great celebration especially with the reopening in California and we hope you can attend !! Places are limited so use the link in our bio to sign up today pic.twitter.com/zqEXBuPnuM
– Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce (@CM_Chamber) June 23, 2021
That message was carried home at the Chamber’s event on Thursday when Tom Johnson, Chamber emeritus and member of the group’s Cannabis Task Force, shared the vision of a new, more progressive organization.
“We want to be a model chamber of commerce, show other communities how they interact with the cannabis industry and make them successful partners,” said Johnson, who hosted the event.
So far the messaging seems to be working. Five local cannabis retailers sponsored the event Thursday, including a company, Sesh, which was a $ 10,000 platinum sponsor alongside CJ Segerstrom and Sons and South Coast Plaza.
In his remarks, Stephens reminded the audience that Measure Q was passed with more than 65% of the vote, more than any single council member elected to office in November. He then explained the incentive to successfully make the transition to legal sales.
Grigor Grigoryan (left) and Raymond Shirvanyan from cannabis retailer Sesh at Costa Mesa’s annual State of the City. The company was a platinum sponsor of the event hosted by the chamber.
(Don Leach / employee photographer)
Retail cannabis is taxed at 7% – 1% of that will be used to fund two programs to support local artists and first-time home buyers, he said. City workers have estimated that once the industry is up and running, it could raise at least $ 3 million annually.
“So buy your cannabis in Costa Mesa,” added the mayor.
Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.