Marijuana goes commercial in Ojai

The Ojai City Council has voted 4-1 to allow recreational marijuana usage for adults 21 years of age and older, the first city in Ventura County to do so.

Three marijuana collectives exist in the city, which, prior to the ruling, served only medical marijuana needs: Shangri-La Care Cooperative, Mr. Nice Guy Ojai and Sespe Creek Collective.

Chelsea Sutula, president of Sespe Creek Collective, says that the decision is great news.

“It allows for a lot of flexibility and it’s recognition of the fact that the game is evolving every day,” said Sutula. She points out that the business licensing and permitting fees in the city are modest, but at the state level, are very high. Opening the door to recreational use will allow Sutula and the other Ojai operators the opportunity to stay in business while catering to a different crowd who may not have medical marijuana licenses.

“Ojai recognizes the feasibility of staying in business right now and the burden of regulation,” added Sutula, who notes that combined fees for commercial and medical sales are based on projected gross revenue, which she estimates could top $20,000 a year, not including a $1,000 fee for applying for a license.

The new ordinance will allow commercial adult-use dispensaries, limited to three total licenses in the city. Since all three licenses are already claimed, don’t expect a new storefront to pop up any time soon.

CI Harbor, Camarillo water deemed safe

On June 18, the city of Oxnard received complaints regarding the odor and appearance of the water in the Channel Islands Harbor. Callers claimed that the water had a murky brown color and produced a strong smell.

The city tested the water at three different sites and determined that the water was not hazardous to human health, though the city awaits results of tests regarding the presence of nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients that encourage algae growth.

The city urges residents to report water quality issues by calling 805-797-7598.

Meanwhile, in Camarillo, the city’s Water Division has released its annual water quality report indicating that it found no violations of Environmental Protection Agency regulations on levels of contaminants for the year beginning in January and ending in December of 2017.

To read the full report, visit http://www.cityofcamarillo.org/water/CamarilloCCR.pdf.

Oxnard receives $9.5 million for wastewater treatment plant repairs

Gov. Jerry Brown has approved $9.5 million allocated within his State of California budget for repairs and upgrades to the city of Oxnard’s aging wastewater treatment plant.

Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, spearheaded the effort, supported by State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, Assemblywoman Monique Limon, D-Santa Barbara, and Oxnard city officials.

“The city has been actively looking for partnerships and cost-effective ways to lower repair costs and lessen the burden on ratepayers,” said Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn. “These funds will greatly assist in those efforts, ensure critical repairs are completed in the near future, and enable the wastewater system to improve its services for everyone in the city and neighboring communities.”

Officials say that the wastewater treatment plant is in dire need of repair to prevent a “disastrous system failure.” The plant also serves the city of Port Hueneme, the Port Hueneme military base, the Channel Islands community services district and residents in Las Posas, serving more than 200,000 people.