There have been plenty of business owners hoping to get in on the ground floor when it comes to recreational marijuana sales. While larger and more progressive cities like Los Angeles are leading the way, they are not the only ones. Santa Barbara is on their way to granting permits to up to five recreational marijuana storefronts.
While this process began long ago, it wasn’t an easy one for hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs to undertake. Santa Barbara has not been immune to the struggles that this revolutionary law change has brought on. Most notably, is the logistics when it comes to allowing these certain storefronts to be showcased.
Perhaps the biggest setback for this endeavor is the push back from the people who live Santa Barbara. This all played out live in front of a town hall where representatives were faced with a ton of questions. Neighbors were able to voice their concerns when it comes to public safety and disturbing the peace. There were concerns about long lines blocking sidewalks as well as people smoking marijuana in the streets. There were even concerns that recreational marijuana storefronts would end up being a crime hot spot.
Pleasing the public aren’t the only hoops these soon to be shops have to jump through either. Recreational marijuana storefronts in Santa Barbara also have to follow a specific list of guidelines in order to obtain a permit. This includes 24 hour video surveillance as well as staffed security which can be a heavy cost.
Among the businesses owners hoping to open up shop in Santa Barbara are Canndescent CEO, Adrian Sedlin. Canndescent is an on trend cannabis shop that offers high quality flower paired with top of the line accessories. Fans of this company have been enjoying their marijuana delivery which is most recognizable by the bright orange box. Having one of the only five recreational marijuana storefronts in Santa Barbara would be a huge win for this cult classic company.
Sedlin has become one of the faces of the recreational marijuana movement, much to his surprise. By bidding to put his storefronts in more conservative cities has made him less of a businessman and more of an advocate for the movement. However, unlike other stores bidding for a spot, Canndescent is hoping to be much more than a pot shop. There are looking to set up camp in Santa Barbara as they continue to spread their brand worldwide. This means that Santa Barbara could potentially become the hub for one of the largest global cannabis brands.
While the intentions are pure, the community is still not convinced that this is the best move for this bustling town. Residents worry about how it will affect their booming tourist traffic. Santa Barbara has been known to be a family friendly travel city. When it comes to community pushback, it is more about location than marijuana. This is because companies like Canndescent are hoping to open their storefront right on the bustling State Street.
However, along with community concerns, there has also been plenty of support. Other business owners who have stores on State Street are looking forward to the integration between the different businesses. Surprisingly, the supporters see no conflict because they view marijuana as a medical necessity that could be good for Santa Barbara.
Pushback aside, there are many other things to consider when it comes to the new recreational marijuana storefronts in Santa Barbara. Most importantly is the cap that town officials have put on the number of storefronts that would be allowed. With the cap out at five, a small bidding war has begun. Each potential business will have to submit their business plan to the board in order to be considered. This, along with permit fees and safety guidelines will ultimately determine who will get the pass.
The one thing that was inspiring to potential cannabis business owners was that the criticism was not coming from the majority of citizens. In fact, most residents in Santa Barbara are on board with the recreational marijuana storefronts. This is a huge leap from just under a decade ago where medical dispensaries were met with pushback and outrage.
Perhaps Santa Barbara is taking a cue from other large cities that show the benefits of having a successful flagship dispensary in their town. Along with the reduction in crime, there has also been a huge tax boost to these communities. Other states who have been offering recreational marijuana storefronts, like Colorado and Washington, claim that marijuana has reenergized the state.
As it stands currently, the city of Santa Barbara has received 14 applications for cannabis business owners to open shops. While the selection process is well underway, there are a few conditions that have made the process easier. Applicants must submit a location along with their application. These locations will be carefully surveyed before moving forward. With only five slots available, the battle for the perfect storefront is far from over.