Orange County has spent years trying to illegalise medical marijuana, but now they have taken a different approach by legalizing it all together. On Thursday, Santa Ana hosted a lottery which gave 20 applicants the legal rights to sell marijuana in the area. Among them, Cypress Hill’s Dr. Greenthumb B-Real.

The city received over 600 applications, bringing in around $1 million in application fees alone. Those who won the lottery will now move on to stage two of the application process which gives them the rights to obtain a public safety permit.

The lottery itself was hosted at an accounting firm, and the city council has presented its own strategy in an attempt to regulate the amount of dispensaries, however this has been developed into a more relaxed strategy because of the city initiative which achieved over 65% of the vote.

The new system only permits the medical marijuana dispensaries to operate within two industrial areas. They can’t be clustered within 1000 feet of any school, park or residential area and cultivation is strictly not allowed. Santa Ana is now prepared for 2016, and with advocates trying to get a law passed which legalizes recreational use, this puts Santa Ana in a strong standing position.

Randall Longwith, who is an attorney, represents dispensary owners. He created a petition which is trying to place pot regulations on the Costa Mesa ballot in March. This has been delayed and many advocates in the local area are planning with legal action against this in an attempt to move things forward. Longwith is also using the voter strategy in an attempt to legalize pot in other cities as well, with Westminster being the next one on his list. With great success so far, who knows what will happen next.

Natalie