Santa Barbara County on Thursday released a list of applicants for an Orcutt cannabis pharmacy, one of six locations that could be approved in unincorporated areas.
Some cities have decided to completely ban retail outlets; others have limited numbers and Lompoc allows an unlimited number of them.
The county has already released a final list of classified applicants for five additional pharmacy locations, but Orcutt location selection has been paused due to a legal challenge.
Orcutt 405 Naturopathic Center sued the county after its application for the location was denied last year. A Superior Court judge initially ordered a stay of the Orcutt site selection process and then on Friday denied the cannabis company’s request for the court to reassess the request.
Judge Colleen Sterne wrote, “The county had discretion as to how many points to award (or not to award) in each section based on information provided by NHC.”
The court did not find that the application was misevaluated, she wrote. The county gave the application 84 points, which is one of the 85 points required to advance to the third phase of the review process.
Five applicants were screened and rated for a location in the Orcutt parish plan area and East Clark SB, which operates as Cookies, came out on top for its proposed location on E. Clark Ave. 1604, building B, suite 1.
The Cookies pharmacy chain also has a location in Lompoc.
There is a five-day deadline for people to file protests, and after those are considered, the county will publish a final ranking.
The protest period did not change the preliminary rankings of the other five pharmacies in Toro Canyon / Summerland, the eastern Goleta Valley, Isla Vista, Santa Ynez and Los Alamos.
Brittany Heaton, who works on the county’s cannabis program, said the county hoped to have at least one of the six locations open by the end of the calendar year.
Five of the six top-ranked operators who are allowed to apply for permits and business licenses suggested spaces in existing buildings, it said to the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on Wednesday.
“There are community concerns in almost every location for one reason or another,” noted Heaton.
Commissioner Daniel Blough had asked about the delay in the retail selection process and the opening of stores and when the county would be “collecting the huge income (cannabis tax) that it was expecting in the future”.
To date, most of the cannabis tax revenue comes from growers. For the current fiscal year, sales are expected to rise to $ 19 million according to the approved budget.
Cannabis retail companies must pay the county 6% of their gross receipts, a higher rate than growers, nurseries, manufacturing and distribution companies.
“After 14 years on this commission, I’ve gotten used to the fact that Santa Barbara County can’t do anything in a reasonable amount of time,” he said.
The Natural Healing Center, whose application for the Orcutt Pharmacy was rejected by the county, operates pharmacies and farms in San Luis Obispo County. It bought the building at 405 E. Clark Ave., which housed the Old Town Market, and intended to convert it into a pharmacy.
One of its founders, Helios Dayspring, is found guilty of bribing the late San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill in exchange for positive voices, influencing other government officials, and confidential information, according to federal prosecutors.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Dayspring allegedly paid Hill $ 32,000 in cash and money orders in exchange for charitable voices on issues related to its farms, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.
It’s unclear whether Dayspring was linked to the Natural Healing Center’s attempts to open a pharmacy in Santa Barbara County.