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California Dispensary Says Costa Mesa Stalling on Licensure; Demands City Issues Cannabis Business Permit

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COSTA MESA, Calif., Nov. 7, 2023 – PRESS RELEASE – High Seas, a premier cannabis boutique, has filed a writ of mandate against Costa Mesa to compel the city to allow the dispensary to open its doors. This delay is costing High Seas well over $110,000 per month in fees, including retaining several highly valued employees on salary.

To date, the city has not provided High Seas any legitimate reason in writing as to why it is withholding the final permit issuance.

The High Seas dispensary has been prepared to open its doors to the public since Sept. 26, 2023, solely awaiting the receipt of its cannabis business permit to commence operations. Having spent more than $10 million to purchase and improve the building and parking lot, and upgrading the interior infrastructure, High Seas alleges Costa Mesa is withholding its permit without just cause.

Following a rigorous two-year application process that included successfully securing a state cannabis business license, a city business license, and a conditional use permit through a public hearing; obtaining a building permit; and completing all city inspections—including fire, building, planning, CID, and a stringent third-party security inspection—High Seas was awarded all approvals without incident or failure.

Remodeling of the WWII-era building began in the fall of 2022. Due to be completed in July 2023, the renovation process was hampered by the discovery of an abandoned oil drum buried beneath its parking lot long ago, which had to be removed in an environmentally sensitive manner at a cost of more than $80,000.

Dispensaries like High Seas have been credited by Costa Mesa Police Chief Ron Lawrence, who told the city’s planning commission last year, “What we’ve learned is actually these businesses improved the neighborhoods in a lot of circumstances. Often, you have properties that are dilapidated, run-down, and attract nuisance, and businesses like these build them up, fix them, and make them better, and they become much more secure and a better area of the neighborhood.” This is indeed the case with the High Seas location, which no longer attracts the unhoused and others to loiter on the property.

“Despite High Seas’ multiple attempts to open a line of communication to try and resolve this situation, the city of Costa Mesa has unfairly and capriciously withheld the issuance of this final permit without justifiable cause, inflicting substantial financial hardship on our business and preventing it from serving our community and contributing to our local economy,” said High Seas co-founder Rachel Xin, who is a majority holder of the business.

“Our right to operate has been infringed upon by the city’s unwarranted lack of action,” Xin said. “These delays are costing us exorbitant monthly fees as we work to retain our highly trained employees and pay mortgage rates with no income—not to mention the lost tax revenues the city isn’t collecting. We demand a swift resolution that will allow us to open our doors immediately.”

High Seas is committed to maintaining the highest compliance and security standards in the cannabis industry. The company is confident that the legal process will uphold its rights and allow it to operate without further hindrance.



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