Four of five growing licenses in Oceanside, CA allegedly awarded to one family
The Elegant Stoner is based in Carlsbad, CA, and so here’s a story from right up the road about a somewhat suspicious distribution of growing licenses. Oceanside, California has awarded five licenses to grow cannabis in the area, and a lawsuit filed on July 3 alleges that four of those licenses are all connected to one family. Mellano & Company is a 375-acre farm that traditionally grows flowers for sale, though it has recently spun off a cannabis entity called Green Venture Farms Inc. That company was granted a growing license, along with companies called Oceanside Craft Farms Inc., White Mountain Farms Inc., and Second Sun Inc.. The lawsuit now alleges that in addition to Mike Mellano’s Green Venture Farms, the other companies are either also controlled by the Mellanos (Oceanside Craft Farms Inc.), or are going to be growing on their property anyway (White Mountain and Second Sun).
Another company called Zenleaf LLC is behind the lawsuit, and says that it scored better than the other farms during licensing process, but once the decision was made, they were left without a license, while one family (which has made significant political contributions in the past) was connected to four of them. Additionally, the attorney for Zenleaf points out that originally, Oceanside had a rule that there could only be one license per parcel. That rule was changed “mysteriously,” and now four out of Oceanside’s five licenses are growing on the same parcel, owned by the Mellanos.
Calitopia, for the record, is the fifth company granted a license to grow in town, but the lawsuit doesn’t claim that they’re part of the alleged conspiracy. And there are other wrinkles as well: Apparently Second Sun Inc.’s license to do business in California has been suspended (which was news to the company’s president, apparently), and the company hasn’t submitted all of its paperwork for a permit anyway.
Sounds like a mess! Legalization is intended to bring cannabis into the mainstream and away from the injustices of the past, but stories like this suggest that bureaucracy and corruption might still be a big problem, even after the drug is legalized. Hopefully the lawsuit will help get this situation sorted out, and as time goes on, we’ll be able to create clearer and fairer rules about how cannabis licenses are distributed.