SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — From buds to blunts, cannabis means big business in California. And an Orange County business Thursday was putting the finishing touches on what will soon be the largest superstore in the state.
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Planet 13 plans to put Santa Ana on the marijuana map with a 16,000-square-foot dispensary, an interactive digital floor and a smoking Volkswagen van located in the 3400 block of Warner Avenue. The owners are hoping to bring the success of their Vegas store to the O.C.
“We’re hoping to repeat what’s in Vegas,” Larry Scheffler, Planet 13, co-founder said. “We’re now seeing 100,000 people a month coming into the Planet 13 store, and on Thursday to Sunday we have a 1.5 hour wait.”
Santa Ana is the only Orange County city that allows dispensaries.
“A lot of cities and counties have been slowly opening up and beginning to embrace fully the commercial cannabis industry,” John Schroyer, a senior reporter covering California for Marijuana Business Daily, said.
He said despite the state being the birthplace of the modern marijuana industry, other states may be better positioned to lead the cannabis trade if the industry becomes federally regulated.READ MORE: Firefighters Discover Human Remains After Putting Out RV Fire In Wilmington
“I know a lot companies that operate in other states and have deliberately held off on coming into California because it’s so complex and because it’s so tough to get a business permit and be successful,” he said.
According to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, Los Angeles County leads the state in dispensary licenses while Santa Barbara County is one of the top growers. But many other counties are choosing to stay out of the industry.
“Roughly two-thirds of the cities and counties in California still maintain complete bans on all types of cannabis companies,” Schroyer said.
And, as Orange County slowly seeps into the business, Planet 13 is hoping to prove to neighboring cities that the cannabis industry is the green city’s need to grow.MORE NEWS: 'Is He Alive? Is He Alright?' Family Left With Nothing But Questions After Ricky McGhee's Disappearance Weeks Ago
“Santa Ana, I think, was smart enough to realize, ‘It’s gonna come eventually, let’s be one of the first ones and do it the right way,'” Scheffler said.