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The cannabis industry has officially entered Old Town Lompoc.

Elevate Lompoc, a dispensary, opened its doors for a soft opening Friday morning in the 100 block of South H Street.

In doing so, it became the third recreational cannabis store in Lompoc, as well as the third to open in all of Santa Barbara County.

Unlike the other retail cannabis establishments in the city, however, Elevate Lompoc is the first to take up shop in the downtown area.

It is located in the building that formerly housed the Blacksmith Steakhouse from 2002 to 2012 and is next-door to Jasper’s, a historic Old Town bar.

Managers of the new cannabis store see it as one of the early steps toward a renewed push to revitalize downtown Lompoc.

“We’re trying to be very active in the community and bring a positive light to cannabis, especially with the negative stigma it typically has around it,” Chief Executive Officer Robert McKee said.

Friday’s opening came a day after the store’s final permits were approved.

The store’s management said they plan to use this first week to train employees before kicking off a formal grand opening week of events Friday, June 28.

The timing of that eight-day grand opening is significant, McKee noted. Its beginning was planned to coincide with the five-day Lompoc Flower Festival, which kicks off Wednesday, June 26.

The grand opening events also will conclude the same evening as the start of the annual Old Town Market series, which will begin Friday, July 5.

During the grand opening week, McKee said, a food truck will be on site for five of the seven days and several distributors will also have representatives on hand to offer specials and giveaways.

The store’s hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Jeanne Stewart, the dispensary’s chief financial officer, said the store’s leadership has kept up with local affairs in preparation for joining the community.

That has included attending meetings dealing with the city’s budget concerns and learning more about the local housing shortage.

“We’re trying to get into this community and really understand what the problems are, what the issues are, and really be a part of it,” she said.

McKee said the store plans to host monthly cleanups at the nearby Centennial Park, and he said the store’s security guard will patrol the surrounding lot to ensure people aren’t consuming cannabis on-site “or doing other things they shouldn’t be doing.”

He said he was drawn to Lompoc by its favorable comparisons to his former home city of Santa Paula.

“This is like a bigger Santa Paula,” he said of Lompoc. “It just has that hometown feel to it.”

Stewart agreed with that assessment and said she is looking forward to helping residents of Lompoc and surrounding communities — visitors from Santa Barbara were among Friday's first customers — with their cannabis needs.

“We put a lot of work into this and take a lot of pride in it, so we really want to attract all demographics, all kinds of customers,” she said. “We have a lot of topicals, which are very popular right now, and a lot of the CBD stuff ... and edibles, which people are experimenting with.

"So, we’re really trying to create a presence here and are trying to be part of downtown.”

Historic day: Cannabis dispensary opens in Lompoc, becoming first in Santa Barbara County
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Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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Reporter

Willis Jacobson covers news and other issues, primarily those that affect the Lompoc Valley and Vandenberg Air Force Base, for Lee Central Coast News. He is a graduate of The University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.