012021 Joe Garcia Cannabis Mug


If you’ve ever been to the Lompoc Valley to watch a launch from neighboring Vandenberg Space Force Base, you’d be among thousands of spectators who show up to witness a rocket blast off high into the sky.

Now, people [and you don’t have to be a billionaire] also will have the opportunity to visit Lompoc and — figuratively at least — reach great heights with the permitted consumption of cannabis in the only licensed lounge on the California coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

On June 21, I was invited by Todd Mitchell, co-owner of Seaweed Dispensary and Lounge, to take the historic first toke inside the new lounge as the shop was officially declared open.

Seaweed Dispensary and Lounge in July 2018 was awarded Lompoc’s first commercial cannabis license and became the sixth dispensary to open for business in December 2019. 

Although a variety of delays and setbacks — including the COVID-19 pandemic — pushed out the lounge's opening, the business was ultimately issued the city's first commercial cannabis license and opened its lounge doors on June 21. The event marked another significant milestone in the era of legalization for the city, representing a deep contrast to its founding days.

Lompoc was founded as a temperance colony in 1874 by the Lompoc Valley Land Co., with a ban on alcohol until it became incorporated in 1888. During Prohibition, Lompoc would encounter bootleggers attempting to smuggle alcohol in or through town, and at various times in history would illicit vigilantes who attempted to keep Lompoc a “dry” town.

The most notable recorded events include a vigilante group of women who pulled a saloon right off its foundation and dragged it down a street with alcohol spewing out along the roads, and the bombing of a drug store suspected of being an illegal dispenser of alcohol.

“With cannabis so prevalent and accessible, [I] think the founders and the ladies of the [Woman’s Christian Temperance Union] are rolling in their graves,” said 98-year-old resident Myra Manfrina, a Lompoc historian and a past board member of the Historical Society.

I guess I can consider myself lucky that those ladies were not around when I pulled out a pre-roll and sparked it at Seaweed Dispensary and Lounge to celebrate Lompoc's new future.

To that I say, more flower to the people!!

Monthly columnist Joe A. Garcia is a Lompoc resident who founded the Lompoc Valley Cannabis Coalition and works in the county's cannabis industry. He can be reached at FlowerToThePeople805@gmail.com or follow on Facebook @FlowerToThePeople805