The Orange County Grand Jury released a report this month which hilighted the financial and social benefits of Santa Ana’s ordinance allowing retail cannabis dispensaries.
“The action has added significant revenue to the City with no reported increase in criminal activity,” the report states.
After an extensive investigation process and interviews with law enforcement, city staff, council members, and dispensary proprietors, the Grand Jury concluded that “the revenue generated by the retail adult-use cannabis business has provided much-needed funds to the City of Santa Ana. These funds have not only increased the City’s general fund account but have also been used for enhanced police services and code enforcement efforts as well as funding for additional youth pro- grams through the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Agency.”
The report is entitled “Pot Luck: Santa Ana’s Monopoly on Licensed Retail Adult-Use Cannabis in Orange County.” This “monopoly” is due to the fact that other OC cities, including Fullerton, have explicitly banned retail cannabis dispensaries, despite the passage of Prop 64, in which 57% of California voters approved the adult use and sale of cannabis.
Santa Ana’s ordinance allows up to 30 retail adult-use cannabis stores. As of April 15, 2021, there were 23 dispensaries open and operating in the City.
The report states that, prior to the passage of the ordinance, there had been more than 120 unlicensed dispensaries operating illegally in Santa Ana.
“That number has since been reduced to ‘less than a handful’ due to enforcement efforts by the City, especially the Planning and Building Agency, including Code Enforcement and the Santa Ana Police Department,” the report states.
In its first three years of implementing the ordinance, the city of Santa Ana has received more than $20 million in revenue from fees and taxes.
The report includes an extensive list of city services this revenue has been able to fund, including but not limited to:
-Anti-Drug Education Program
-Splash pads for six city parks
-Soccer field renovations
-Community development youth paid internships
-A police vice unit, including a sergeant and four officers
The report also made recommendations for streamlining the regulatory process and increasing transparency regarding how tax revenues are used.
Read the full report HERE.
Categories: Local News