Sat. Feb 4th, 2023
Marijuana joint, close up

The Santa Ana City Council unanimously approved an ordinance in October to amend the municipal code as well as tax rates related to cannabis retail, cultivation, manufacturing and distribution. The new ordinance will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.



Voters approved these new measures, which will lower tax rates and allow marijuana consumption at lounges and events.

“The City of Santa Ana was the first in Orange County to permit recreational marijuana sales, and we continue to lead the way in allowing the safe cultivation, sale and consumption of legal cannabis,” City Manager Kristine Ridge said. “These changes to our cannabis laws will help our Santa Ana operators remain competitive in an industry that creates local jobs while also producing new tax revenues that help pay for City services.”

The Cannabis Public Benefit Fund, adopted by the Santa Ana City Council in 2018, has generated over $50 million in revenue over the first four years for various City enforcement and youth services, including the Santa Ana Public Library’s Knowledge Mobile and Play and Learn Children’s Patio, as well as 10 new fitness courts in our parks and planned splash pads at various parks.

Under the amended cannabis rules:

  • The tax rate for cannabis distribution, cultivation and manufacture is lowered from 6% to 1%.
  • Cannabis retail taxes are reduced by 1% – medicinal from 6% to 5% and recreational from 8% to 7%.
  • Cannabis retailers that meet the requirements of social equity measures can further reduce their tax rates by an additional 2%.
  • All retailers may sell medicinal and recreational cannabis.
  • Permitted retail locations can open consumption lounges where cannabis products may be sold and consumed.
  • Permitted retailers can have temporary consumption events where cannabis may be sold and consumed twice a year, either at the retail site or at an off-site location.
  • The City of Santa Ana can hold temporary consumption festivals where people can sell and consume cannabis.

The City Council added optional social equity measures for cannabis retailers that include certain wage and workforce guidelines, local and low-income community hiring requirements, and training programs.

Retailers that comply with the social equity measures will get first priority to apply to open consumption lounges in the first year of the ordinance. Other legal retailers that haven’t implemented social equity measures will be able to apply to open consumption lounges after Jan. 1, 2024.

Visit our Cannabis Business Portal for more information at https://www.santa-ana.org/departments/cannabis/.

Marijuana Risks

Marijuana use can have negative and long-term effects:

  • Brain health: Marijuana can cause permanent IQ loss of as much as 8 points when people start using it at a young age. These IQ points do not come back, even after quitting marijuana.
  • Mental health: Studies link marijuana use to depression, anxiety, suicide planning, and psychotic episodes. It is not known, however, if marijuana use is the cause of these conditions.
  • Athletic Performance: Research shows that marijuana affects timing, movement, and coordination, which can harm athletic performance.
  • Driving: People who drive under the influence of marijuana can experience dangerous effects: slower reactions, lane weaving, decreased coordination, and difficulty reacting to signals and sounds on the road.
  • Baby’s health and development: Marijuana use during pregnancy may cause fetal growth restriction, premature birth, stillbirth, and problems with brain development, resulting in hyperactivity and poor cognitive function. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals from marijuana can also be passed from a mother to her baby through breast milk, further impacting a child’s healthy development.
  • Daily life: Using marijuana can affect performance and how well people do in life. Research shows that people who use marijuana are more likely to have relationship problems, worse educational outcomes, lower career achievement, and reduced life satisfaction.

Marijuana Addiction

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. Research shows that:

  • 1-in-6 people who start using the drug before the age of 18 can become addicted.
  • 1-in-10 adults who use the drug can become addicted.

Over the past few decades, the amount of THC in marijuana has steadily climbed; today’s marijuana has three times the concentration of THC compared to 25 years ago. The higher the THC amount, the stronger the effects on the brain—likely contributing to increased rates of marijuana-related emergency room visits. While there is no research yet on how higher potency affects the long-term risks of marijuana use, more THC is likely to lead to higher rates of dependency and addiction.

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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