The city of Ventura saw its first marijuana dispensary open last month as Responsible and Compliant Retail Ventura LLC, known as Embarc Ventura, began selling bud on Main Street. In an abrupt turnaround from the city’s initial ban on all cannabis businesses following the drug’s statewide legalization in 2018, Ventura has approved six dispensary storefronts in the past year for its downtown district, double what the Ventura City Council first planned in 2021.
The city wanted to ease into the industry as a limited-license jurisdiction, meaning the city council, in tandem with the city manager, would allow only a strict number of storefronts, hoping to avoide sparking controversy in a region made up largely of families.
But when three permit recipients were named last October out of eight finalists in an application pool, those not selected appealed the decision, leading to a settlement for three additional permits among the five businesses.
MOM Ventura LLC, Shryne Ventura LLC and Harbor Management Group LLC, known as Safeport, won the second round of application assessments by the city.
Those selected last year, including West Hollywood-based The Artist Tree LLC, feel as if the city caved after upholding stringent standards for their own permitting campaigns,