OC fairgrounds’ board OKs sale of CBD products, still considering cannabis

OC fairgrounds’ board OKs sale of CBD products, still considering cannabis

Future events at the OC Fair & Event Center will be allowed to offer products containing the hemp-derived compound CBD, as well as glass pipes and other smoking devices, but officials have yet to decide whether vendors can sell cannabis or buy related sponsorships to be advertised at the fairgrounds.

The fairgrounds’ Board of Directors has opened the gates to CBD, which is found in cannabis but has no psychedelic effects. CBD is marketed as a pain reliever, sleep aid and more, and products containing the chemical are widely available.

The CBD products that may now be sold at the fairgrounds must have less than 0.3% THC, which creates the “high” associated with cannabis.

Board members also lifted a prohibition on selling glass pipes and other smoking devices, but they wanted more information on the potential impacts of allowing cannabis events or sponsorships; they’re expected to pick up the discussion at their June 23 meeting.

Since 2018 – the year adult recreational use of the drug became legal in California – the state-owned fairgrounds has had a policy banning cannabis events.

The two most recently appointed fair directors, Melahat Rafiei and Nick Kovacevich, work in the cannabis industry.

Kovacevich recently said in a meeting the promotion and sale of alcohol is considered commonplace at the OC Fair & Event Center, and he’d like to see his colleagues “apply consistency across the board” when it comes to cannabis.

Board members also noted the fairgrounds’ host city, Costa Mesa, is on the verge of approving its first permits for retail cannabis stores. The city has gotten about 65 applications for retail, delivery and related businesses.

But the city’s rules require cannabis businesses to be at least 600 feet from K-12 schools, daycares and some other spots where children gather – and immediately north of the fairgrounds are Davis Magnet School, Costa Mesa High School and TeWinkle Park, which includes a skate park.

Some board members still worried about the fairgrounds’ family friendly reputation and wanted to know what residents who live near the property think of potential cannabis events.

While hosting such events could be a big moneymaker, Director Sandra Cervantes said, “it appears that there’s tons and tons of places (in Costa Mesa) that are hopefully in the process of being approved,” so they don’t necessarily need to bring cannabis events to the OC Fair & Event Center.

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