Southern California marijuana retailer challenges city to greenlight opening

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

(This story has been updated with a link to the court documents.)

A marijuana retailer in Southern California has filed a challenge against the city of Costa Mesa in an effort to gain final approvals to open the business.

High Seas claims in the state Superior Court filing that the Orange County city has failed to provide a legitimate reason for withholding its final permit to commence operations.

The company alleges in court documents obtained by MJBizDaily that it has been ready to open since Sept. 26 and the city has failed to provide any information in the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, the delays are costing High Seas well over $110,000 per month in fees, including employee salaries, according to email exchanges with MJBizDaily and a news release distributed Tuesday.

“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,” co-founder Rachel Xin said in a statement.

“We demand a swift resolution that will allow us to open our doors immediately.”

Costa Mesa spokesperson Tony Dodero did not immediately respond to MJBizDaily requests for comment.

Costa Mesa is one of only a handful of cities in Orange County – the state’s third-largest with nearly 3.2 million residents – that allow adult-use sales.

However, the municipality has taken years to issue licenses, a countywide issue that has stalled the growth of the cannabis industry there.

In November 2020, Costa Mesa voters approved Measure Q, which mandated the city to develop a regulatory framework and rules for a retail program.

Yet, three years later, only a few marijuana retailers are operational in the city.

Chris Casacchia can be reached at