Cannabis, pay raises are studied

SHOULD WESTMINSTER join other OC cities in allowing commercial sales of marijuana products? (Shutterstock).

By Declan McDaniels/Orange County Tribune

Should Westminster join other Orange County cities in granting permits for the sale of cannabis products?

During the oral communication session at the Sept. 13 meeting of the city council, several residents weighed in a presentation from Megan’s Organic Market, a cannabis retail store that is looking to open a new location at 14022 Springdale St. 

Resident Jessica Lostaunau stated that the attitudes toward cannabis are changing, and that Westminster is now ready to open shops for recreational use.

“We would’ve once not wanted retail cannabis in our community, but we’re now saying yes,” she said. “We realize the economic potential of these stores. Seeing neighboring communities like Santa Ana, Santon, and Costa Mesa benefit from retail cannabis with little downside, we’re ready to start reaping the economic rewards the tax dollars would bring.”

The council voted to receive and file the presentation, and action on the issue may return at a later date.

Residents were also focused on the item that would raise compensation for citycouncil members. This comes after Governor Gavin Newson signed Senate Bill 329 in June of 2023, allowing cities to increase income for council members based on the cities population, a calculation that has not been adjusted in over 40 years. 

According to the staff report, “allowing cities to adjust their compensation for inflation… may help city councils become more diverse because increased compensation can help individuals from across different income levels receive sufficient income from their service to help ensure that they can continue to serve the public and support their families.”

Councilmember Carlos Manzo was cautious about this proposal, as he sees how it can be justified, but does not feel that it is the best course of action considering the current problematic financial situation.

“Whether it may be justified according to the population of our city… I feel that we’re not in a financial position to be raising compensation to us,” Manzo said. “Even next year, if we don’t make any cuts, we’re still going to have to dip into our reserve.”

The report will be received and filed by the council.

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