T.O. begins accepting applications for pot business

Beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 13, the city of Thousand Oaks will get high on its own supply — of applicants! The city will begin accepting applications for consideration of one medical marijuana dispensary and one cannabis testing facility, through March 8.

Since the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2016 with the passage of Prop 64, cities in Ventura County have wrestled with the concept of whether or not to allow the sale of marijuana within city limits. Thus far, many have declined to discuss the matter or allowed limited usage. Thousand Oaks prohibited medical businesses and cultivation in January 2016, but in December 2017 the council decided to allow one medical cannabis retailer and one testing laboratory.

From application to approval is a long series of tasks, however, and a costly one at that. According to the city’s informational website created for potential applicants, the total cost from the first step, eligibility, to the 13th, the business permit, is just under $30,000.

While some cities include a special tax on cannabis, Thousand Oaks has no such separate tax but will consider placing one on the upcoming November ballot.

The City Council estimates a July completion for chosen applicants. For more information and to apply, visit http://www.toaks.org/departments/city-manager-s-office/cannabis-policy.

WEV offers disaster relief assistance

In the ongoing efforts to ease the damage and disruption caused by the Thomas Fire, Women’s Economic Ventures, a business training and consulting firm based in Santa Barbara, has begun offering Quick Response Loans to businesses that have been impacted by a loss of sales and/or inventory due to the Thomas Fire or mudslides.

The loans, valued up to $10,000, are offered to ease cash flow during the recovery process. Further, WEV will also host Small Business Recovery Workshops in both English and Spanish through February beginning tonight, Feb. 8, in Ventura.

“Once organizations like Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) and the Economic Development Collaborative (EDC-VC) began to realize the negative impacts to small businesses due to the Thomas Fire in mid-December, both began offering quick response, or emergency loans, at low interest rates to help clients meet their financial obligations such as making payroll or rent,” said Leah Gonzalez, program manager. “On Jan. 15 when the individual assistance declaration was made, the SBA’s disaster recovery loans were made available, offering yet another resource for local businesses. It’s the focus of all three agencies to ensure the vitality of our small businesses by making sure they have funding options to meet their needs.”

For more information on applying, and for information regarding the workshops, call 965-6073.

One-stop shop for homeless services

The Ventura County Health Care Agency presents a community event featuring multiple services in several cities around the county that will offer assistance in all forms for those in need.

Project H.O.P.E. will provide behavioral health assistance and STAR (screening, triage, assessment and referral) assessment by appointment, food stamp application assistance, free TB testing, veteran assistance and much more on Tuesdays in Ventura from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Wednesdays in Oxnard from 8:30 to 11 a.m.; the first and third Thursdays in Simi Valley from 8:30 a.m. to noon; second and fourth Thursdays in Camarillo from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.; and first and third Mondays in Thousand Oaks from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Sack lunches will also be provided. For more information and locations, visit www.vchca.org.