The Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce held a “cannabis kickoff” on Wednesday to welcome the industry to a city where marijuana dispensaries can now legally do business and potentially boost membership in a new line of business.
“If you are considering starting your business in the beautiful city of Costa Mesa, please consider joining us,” said Chamber President and Executive Director Carla Valenzuela in the virtual session. “We are very much looking forward to the opportunity to work together.”
The meeting followed a city council meeting on Tuesday evening when lawmakers finally approved the regulations regulating cannabis retail and supply. With an existing legal framework, business owners can apply for licenses and permits after 30 days.
Come to the Cannabis Industry Partnership kick-off on Wednesday, June 16 at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom! This is a great opportunity to learn about the many benefits of chamber membership! pic.twitter.com/tG650ziVS8
– Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce (@CM_Chamber) June 14, 2021
Chamber leaders highlighted the many benefits of membership, including letters of recommendation that could help cannabis operators with the city’s application process.
Tom Johnson, the Chamber’s emeritus president and self-proclaimed “cannabis champion,” suggested that networking events and sponsorship opportunities could provide valuable input for owners looking to establish themselves as legal business owners.
“We want to fully embrace the cannabis community,” said Johnson. “We want to be your connection to introduce you to the people you need to know to do your business in this city more successfully.”
Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens, along with council members Manuel Chavez and Loren Gameros – members of a council-appointed ad hoc committee that has worked with industry leaders on local cannabis-related issues – shared their cell phone numbers and e- Mail addresses and encouraged to reach out directly to anyone with questions.
Stephens said he anticipates retail tax revenue could soon become the city’s third highest source of income after property and sales taxes as pharmacies move to business parks where companies struggle to get customers to make their purchases online to do.
“There’s a lot going on there,” he said. “I have very high expectations and very high hopes for the industry and I am very pleased that the Chamber of Commerce is accepting this industry. Join the Chamber of Commerce, go to the tape average, support each other. “
Jim Fitzpatrick, a former Costa Mesa planning commissioner and chairman of the chamber’s cannabis task force, described on Friday a symbiotic relationship between chamber leaders looking to modernize the organization and expand their ranks and a new division that seeks legitimacy and support.
“The Chamber sees this as an opportunity to strengthen membership, bring in membership and sponsorship money,” he said. “I really think this is a model of how to get this right, rather than betting [cannabis business] in the shade where it always was. “
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