folder Filed in Cultivation, Policy
Topanga's (craft) Cannabis Future
Peter Cervieri access_time 3 min read

Jonatan Cvetko, founder of Angeles Emeralds, an advocacy group that represents the interests of the cannabis community in LA County, talks about what California state cannabis law allows local communities to do versus what LA County is proposing for the 21 towns in unincorporated LA County.

LA County wants to limit cultivation to indoor cultivation within industrial zoning, despite the fact that 40% of LA County is productive agricultural land and the weather is, you know, 72 and sunny pretty much every day of the year.

LA County wants to limit retail outlets to 20 in a geographic area that spans 4,000 square miles. One retail license is proposed for all of district 3. Topanga is in district 3. District 3 is 431 square miles. Let that sink in – one retail license is proposed for the entire 431 square mile district.

76% percent of Topanga voters voted yes on Prop 64, which legalized adult use cannabis in addition to medical cannabis.

Under the current proposed LA County cannabis ordinance, Topanga has no zoning for any commercial cannabis activity. None. If we don’t speak up, Topanga’s future will be zero participation in a legal market that 76% of voters voted yes on.

** Side Note: I know the black market will be alive and well. **

The city of Malibu, which has its own cannabis ordinances, allows for commercial cannabis activity and currently has two dispensaries. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 12,645. That’s one dispensary per ~ 6,400 residents.

The city of Los Angeles has proposed a soft cap of one retail outlet per 10,000 residents, and no cap on the number of cultivation licenses, which can be indoor or mixed use (greenhouse).

Los Angeles County is proposing one retail license per 52,000 residents. None of those retail licenses will be in Topanga. The county is proposing 10 cultivation licenses in total, all indoor.

Topanga (and other towns in unincorporated LA County) can create a craft cannabis future, if only the residents get vocal and speak up to their local town council to put pressure on the county board of supervisors to draft legislation that reflects the will of the people. The town council is currently abstaining from any sort of responsibility to speak up on behalf of the Topanga community. The town council, by not speaking up, is implicitly supporting the current draft ordinances that allow for no commercial cannabis activity of any kind in Topanga.

The future I imagine includes local, small scale Topanga sun grown cannabis producers, all with cottage cultivation licenses allowed by the state but not by the currently proposed LA County ordinances, bringing their flower, tinctures and balms to a monthly farmers market to share with friends and neighbors. There could be a local retail store that carries 50% locally produced cannabis products for the local community to support, a consumption lounge or a wellness center where people can consume on-site in a social environment. And that’s pretty much it. Small scale, locally produced, serving the local market.

Topanga won’t be overrun with speculators, criminals or drug dealers hanging outside the Montessori school slinging dime bags. Topanga already has a thriving cannabis cultivation and consumption community. It will continue to have a thriving cannabis cultivation and consumption community. It would be nice if some of that could be within the framework of a legal, regulated market.

The alternative is to drive to the valley or Malibu to purchase the glut of indoor warehouse weed that will flood the LA market in the coming year. Or continue to grow your own under the radar.