Dispensary applicants sue Costa Mesa for a permitting process they say is far too hazy – Los Angeles Times

petition filed Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court, petitioners with RD x Catalyst-Costa Mesa LLC allege members of the City Council defied Measure Q — a ballot initiative passed by voters in November — when they left creation of a permitting process to the discretion of City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison.

“The City Council improperly delegated significant policy issues with a blank check to the city manager in contravention of the letter and spirit of Measure Q,” the document states. “The city manager [then] developed a prioritization process that … provides a priority application window for highly coveted cannabis storefront retailers.”

Measure Q’s ballot language states retail cannabis regulations shall be “adopted by ordinance with a two-thirds vote of the entire City Council.” And while ordinances were passed with 5-2 votes in a first and second reading in April and May, the council never defined how applications would be reviewed and processed, instead leaving that up to city staff.

Petitioners allege Farrell Harrison drafted a “fake” social equity program and other last-minute rules that were posted to the city’s website Friday, six days before the application window opened.

For example, marijuana manufacturers and processors already doing non-retail business in the city’s “Green Zone”

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