Week Includes ‘Historic’ Event, Weedmaps New Course, County Actions

Proprietor Graham Farrar, center, speaks to a cannabis fan at the Farmarcy’s grand opening on Aug. 24.

Several events during the past week might have very significant meaning to the Santa Barbara business sector. 

In reverse order, but perhaps with the most significant first, the Aug. 24 grand opening of the Farmacy Santa Barbara marijuana shop was called “historic” by some local cannabis group organizers. 

Touted as the city’s first, all-purpose, fully licensed, adult-use cannabis storefront, the Farmacy’s grand opening drew hundreds of cannabis fans who waited in a block-long line to get a glimpse of the shop at 128 W. Mission St. 

The wait to get was softened by the soulful music of singer, songwriter and musician David Segall and some soft drinks, snacks and ice cream that helped stifle the sunny heat. 

The grand opening came the day after organizers of Weedmaps indicated they would stop listing locations of illegal marijuana retailers alongside legal businesses by the end of the year. 

Weedmaps said Aug. 21 it will begin requiring a state license number for marijuana retail listings on its site. 

This means a great deal to legal pot sellers who have been battling to compete with illegal operations. Illicit pot shops are blamed for lower-than-expected tax revenue generation in California.  

Meanwhile, the sixth annual Mega Mixer on Aug. 22 at the Hotel Californian was attended by throngs of members and associates of South Coast chambers of commerce and other business groups in a show of perceived unity among them. 

Actually, the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region has been limping along for a while and is without a permanent chief. The Goleta Valley Chamber is still drawing away many members who might join the “region” chamber. 

The result is a very loose confederation of business groups that some observers say would be better off with a single regional chamber.  

That’s been an underlying current for many years, but one that gained more interest during the recession and the final years of Steve Cushman’s tenure as Santa Barbara chamber chief when that organization lost several hundred members. 

Noteworthy because of its absence, no cannabis industry businesses were represented at the Mega Mixer, while a couple dozen restaurants, wineries, breweries and the like gave away samples of their wares to attendees. 

And in local politics, the county Board of Supervisors on Aug. 20 denied an appeal from opponents of a Carpinteria Valley cannabis grower, but required pot farms to show how they will use odor-control earlier in the process while trying to obtain permits. 

Supervisors also banned cultivation on smaller, inland agriculutural zoned properties, put a lid on cultivation acreage, and sped up the permitting process. 

Also in the news, county Supervisor Das Williams, who has been heckled for taking $16,500 in campaign funds from the cannabis industry, will be challenged in the March 3 primary by school board member Lois Capps, daughter of Lois Capps, the area’s former Congress member.

Hundreds of business people attend the sixth annual Mega Mixer at the Hotel Californian on Aug. 22.

Posted Aug. 26, 2019. 

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