No cannabis events or sales at O.C. fairgrounds, Fair Board decides

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The Orange County Fair Board adopted a final policy Thursday banning cannabis-related events and the sale of cannabis products or drug paraphernalia at the Costa Mesa fairgrounds.

After a brief discussion, board members voted 5-0 to approve the new regulations, which they had backed in concept last month. Vice Chairman Robert Ruiz and board members Ashleigh Aitken, Gerardo Mouet and Newton Pham were absent from Thursday’s meeting.

Along with barring new cannabis-related events, the policy prohibits other events at the OC Fair & Event Center from “including cannabis products or activities, cannabis-related products or activities or drug paraphernalia.”


Sponsors, vendors and exhibitors also are forbidden to include “any promotion, information or advertisement from cannabis dispensaries or third parties that sell or promote cannabis-related products or drug paraphernalia” in any marketing or advertising for events at the property and are barred from distributing, selling or promoting cannabis products or drug paraphernalia during events.

The policy says the prohibition is needed because of the proximity of the Fair & Event Center to schools and other places where children gather — Costa Mesa High School, Davis Magnet School and TeWinkle Park, to name a few — as well as the city of Costa Mesa’s regulations regarding marijuana.

Costa Mesa prohibits the retail sale of marijuana and marijuana products. City Council members also have voted several times to keep an urgency ordinance that allows the city to prohibit marijuana-related activities to the extent possible under state law.

The exception is Measure X, an initiative that local voters approved in 2016 that allows businesses that research, test, process and manufacture some medical marijuana products to open in a designated area north of South Coast Drive, west of Harbor Boulevard, south of MacArthur Boulevard and east of the Santa Ana River.

Two businesses already have been approved under that measure: a medical marijuana distribution facility at 3505 Cadillac Ave. and an extraction facility at 3590 Cadillac Ave.

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