Mountain View Voice

News - December 3, 2010

City seeks input on pot club rules

New ordinance will govern how marijuana is sold in MV

by Daniel DeBolt

A "very challenging" set of regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries in Mountain View needs some direction from the city's residents, says City Attorney Jannie Quinn.

A meeting for Mountain View residents to discuss a draft medical marijuana ordinance is set for Thursday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers.

The issue has urgency because Quinn said the council will likely vote on whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in February, before a temporary ban expires in early April. Quinn is drafting a set of regulations on pot clubs in case the council decides to allow them in Mountain View.

Among the problems for the city is where pot clubs would be permitted to operate. Quinn said a new state law requires that they be 600 feet from schools, and the council has discussed a rule requiring them to be up to 1,000 feet from homes, parks and schools. That leaves only a few small pockets in the city where a dispensary could locate, mostly in the industrial areas along Highway 101.

The city will also decide on requiring numerous security measures and whether dispensaries would be allowed to accept cash. The police department has concerns that large amounts of cash would make dispensaries a target for robbery, and the city could require that all transactions at the dispensaries be by credit card or checks. Quinn said. "Some cities have taken that approach," she said.

Other issues include whether marijuana sold in Mountain View will have to be tested for mold or other contaminants, whether dispensaries should serve Mountain View residents only, and whether marijuana will have to be grown on site. Some council members have also called for a cap on the number of dispensaries that are allowed in the city, while other members say the city shouldn't set a number.

"This is one of the most challenging ordinances I've ever had to draft," Quinn said. "At this point there are a lot more questions than there are answers."

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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