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Council fails to put temporary ban on pot clubs

Several members supported moratorium to give them time to write regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries

A proposed temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in Mountain View fizzled during Tuesday night's council meeting, even though most members appear to support the dispensaries and hoped a moratorium would buy them time to write proper regulations.

Council members Tom Means and John Inks blocked the proposed interim "urgency" prohibition ordinance, which required six votes and would have immediately prevented several interested parties from opening a medical marijuana dispensary in the city for 45 days.

In response, council member Mike Kasperzak suggested a different kind of moratorium which requires only four votes and would go into effect in 30 days. City attorney Jannie Quinn said she would return with that proposal at a future meeting.

In general, most council members seemed to be supportive of allowing a dispensary in the city as long as regulations were in place. The temporary ban would allow time to create those regulations, they said.

"Obviously there is some interest," said Margaret Abe Koga, in remarks echoed by fellow council member Jac Siegel.

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"I certainly think that if people need marijuana medically they should be able to get it," said Mayor Ronit Bryant. "I am a cancer survivor myself. My doctor gave me some artificial marijuana (Marinol). Had it not worked I would have wanted the real thing if that would have helped me."

As far as creating regulations, she said, "The less time it takes the better."

Council member Means was pressured by Kasperzak to change his vote so the ban could be put in place. "Without a moratorium, we start getting an influx of applications staff doesn't know what to do with," said Kasperzak, who supported a proposal for a marijuana dispensary when he was on the council in 2005.

The sticking point for Kasperzak and others appeared to be choosing an appropriate location for a dispensary. "Where would you put it?" he asked.

"If we are only going to deal with land issues I might support that," Means said. "I worry it will become another big city regulation on stuff."

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Means and Inks, both libertarians, said they were wary of city regulations limiting the number of dispensaries in the city, which could create a monopoly for the "Shoreline Wellness Collective" proposed by resident Brian David. David wants to operate near Shoreline Amphitheatre away from residential neighborhoods and schools, a proven "best practice" according to medical marijuana advocates who spoke at Tuesday's meeting.

Without the temporary ban in effect, some said the city could end up in expensive litigation to try to shut down dispensaries that opened up in the meantime. Such a lawsuit is now being considered in Gilroy, where a ban was passed after several dispensaries had opened.

In defense of his decision, Inks said the moratorium would be "delaying resolution for some people regarding their health. I think that weighs more than taking some urgency stance. I don't see any justification to pass this ordinance tonight."

Inks said he visited a dispensary in Santa Clara called Angel's Care, which he said was operating under state laws for dispensaries in an industrial neighborhood.

"I would encourage you to drop by the place," he said. "It was very tightly controlled with a metal detector at the door. I did not get past the front door because I did not have doctor's approval. If I didn't see the sign I wouldn't have been able to find the place. There was no loitering and no smoking on the premises."

Some suggested that the city follow the lead of Oakland, where voters approved a 1.8 percent sales tax on its four medical marijuana dispensaries, which is projected to create $3 million in revenue in its first year. Means and Inks opposed such a tax, which could help fix the city's $5 million budget deficit, and Bryant agreed.

"I have no interest in taxing what sick people need," Bryant said. "That's not the way I want to balance the city budget."

No members of the public spoke in opposition if a dispensary, but several medical marijuana advocates spoke in favor. One said a dispensary would help "put drug dealers out of business," and another said opponents would not be able to "provide one scrap of evidence" that dispensaries are sources of increased crime, an opinion reflected by statements from the California Police Chief's Association and quoted in a city staff report.

Several speakers pointed to statements to the contrary, made recently by the Los Angeles police chief, that dispensaries have not been the magnets for crime critics say they are.

Brian David hired Max Del Real, "The only registered medical marijuana lobbyist in the state," to lobby the city. Del Real said he supported the temporary ban, calling it "nothing more than a pause" so the city could figure out the best way forward. He suggested that the city limit the number of dispensaries within its boundaries to address fears that they might lead to crime and public safety issues.

Del Real said that he had been traveling the state working with mayors, city managers and chiefs of police on the issue, and could provide "500 hours of research" on "best practices" for dealing with medical marijuana.

"The city of Mountain View does not need to reinvent the wheel," he said. He said the city of Santa Rosa, for example, had embraced a voluntary tax on dispensaries which has helped fund city services.

Council member Laura Macias echoed a point made by city attorney Quinn that there still exists a conflict between federal law and state law, despite orders from the Obama administration to not prosecute medical marijuana users.

"While this attorney general has said there is not going to be any real action (against medical marijuana), it is still an uncomfortable position we're placed in," she said.

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Council fails to put temporary ban on pot clubs

Several members supported moratorium to give them time to write regulations on medical marijuana dispensaries

by Daniel DeBolt / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Feb 10, 2010, 2:46 pm

A proposed temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in Mountain View fizzled during Tuesday night's council meeting, even though most members appear to support the dispensaries and hoped a moratorium would buy them time to write proper regulations.

Council members Tom Means and John Inks blocked the proposed interim "urgency" prohibition ordinance, which required six votes and would have immediately prevented several interested parties from opening a medical marijuana dispensary in the city for 45 days.

In response, council member Mike Kasperzak suggested a different kind of moratorium which requires only four votes and would go into effect in 30 days. City attorney Jannie Quinn said she would return with that proposal at a future meeting.

In general, most council members seemed to be supportive of allowing a dispensary in the city as long as regulations were in place. The temporary ban would allow time to create those regulations, they said.

"Obviously there is some interest," said Margaret Abe Koga, in remarks echoed by fellow council member Jac Siegel.

"I certainly think that if people need marijuana medically they should be able to get it," said Mayor Ronit Bryant. "I am a cancer survivor myself. My doctor gave me some artificial marijuana (Marinol). Had it not worked I would have wanted the real thing if that would have helped me."

As far as creating regulations, she said, "The less time it takes the better."

Council member Means was pressured by Kasperzak to change his vote so the ban could be put in place. "Without a moratorium, we start getting an influx of applications staff doesn't know what to do with," said Kasperzak, who supported a proposal for a marijuana dispensary when he was on the council in 2005.

The sticking point for Kasperzak and others appeared to be choosing an appropriate location for a dispensary. "Where would you put it?" he asked.

"If we are only going to deal with land issues I might support that," Means said. "I worry it will become another big city regulation on stuff."

Means and Inks, both libertarians, said they were wary of city regulations limiting the number of dispensaries in the city, which could create a monopoly for the "Shoreline Wellness Collective" proposed by resident Brian David. David wants to operate near Shoreline Amphitheatre away from residential neighborhoods and schools, a proven "best practice" according to medical marijuana advocates who spoke at Tuesday's meeting.

Without the temporary ban in effect, some said the city could end up in expensive litigation to try to shut down dispensaries that opened up in the meantime. Such a lawsuit is now being considered in Gilroy, where a ban was passed after several dispensaries had opened.

In defense of his decision, Inks said the moratorium would be "delaying resolution for some people regarding their health. I think that weighs more than taking some urgency stance. I don't see any justification to pass this ordinance tonight."

Inks said he visited a dispensary in Santa Clara called Angel's Care, which he said was operating under state laws for dispensaries in an industrial neighborhood.

"I would encourage you to drop by the place," he said. "It was very tightly controlled with a metal detector at the door. I did not get past the front door because I did not have doctor's approval. If I didn't see the sign I wouldn't have been able to find the place. There was no loitering and no smoking on the premises."

Some suggested that the city follow the lead of Oakland, where voters approved a 1.8 percent sales tax on its four medical marijuana dispensaries, which is projected to create $3 million in revenue in its first year. Means and Inks opposed such a tax, which could help fix the city's $5 million budget deficit, and Bryant agreed.

"I have no interest in taxing what sick people need," Bryant said. "That's not the way I want to balance the city budget."

No members of the public spoke in opposition if a dispensary, but several medical marijuana advocates spoke in favor. One said a dispensary would help "put drug dealers out of business," and another said opponents would not be able to "provide one scrap of evidence" that dispensaries are sources of increased crime, an opinion reflected by statements from the California Police Chief's Association and quoted in a city staff report.

Several speakers pointed to statements to the contrary, made recently by the Los Angeles police chief, that dispensaries have not been the magnets for crime critics say they are.

Brian David hired Max Del Real, "The only registered medical marijuana lobbyist in the state," to lobby the city. Del Real said he supported the temporary ban, calling it "nothing more than a pause" so the city could figure out the best way forward. He suggested that the city limit the number of dispensaries within its boundaries to address fears that they might lead to crime and public safety issues.

Del Real said that he had been traveling the state working with mayors, city managers and chiefs of police on the issue, and could provide "500 hours of research" on "best practices" for dealing with medical marijuana.

"The city of Mountain View does not need to reinvent the wheel," he said. He said the city of Santa Rosa, for example, had embraced a voluntary tax on dispensaries which has helped fund city services.

Council member Laura Macias echoed a point made by city attorney Quinn that there still exists a conflict between federal law and state law, despite orders from the Obama administration to not prosecute medical marijuana users.

"While this attorney general has said there is not going to be any real action (against medical marijuana), it is still an uncomfortable position we're placed in," she said.

Comments

Thom
Shoreline West
on Feb 10, 2010 at 8:56 pm
Thom, Shoreline West
on Feb 10, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Thank you Mayor and members of our council. Rational minds were at work in this recent meeting.


Thom
Shoreline West
on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Thom, Shoreline West
on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Sorry for double post. Please inform council member on prop. 215 which states:

Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a "written or oral recommendation" from their physician that he or she "would benefit from medical marijuana." Patients diagnosed with any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been "deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician" are afforded legal protection under this act.

Approved Conditions: AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, persistent muscle spasms, including spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, including seizures associated with epilepsy, severe nausea; Other chronic or persistent medical symptoms.

California Attorney General stated:
"California voters approved an initiative legalizing medical marijuana, not street drugs. Marijuana intended for medicinal use should not be sold to non-patients or on illicit markets. These guidelines will help law enforcement agencies perform their duties in accordance with California law and help patients understand their rights under Proposition 215."

Thanks again!


Paul_C
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm
Paul_C, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm

"Council fails to put temporary ban on pot clubs"

Interesting choice of words. I hardly see this as any kind of "failure" of the council.


Don Frances
Registered user
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Feb 11, 2010 at 10:16 am
Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor
Registered user
on Feb 11, 2010 at 10:16 am

Paul,

I tend to agree with you -- we found it very hard to figure out how to couch this story without it seeming misleading.

Here's the irony: The five council members seeking to "ban" medical marijuana dispensaries were only seeking to do so temporarily, apparently because they actually support the idea of a well-regulated marijuana dispensary and wanted to buy themselves some extra time to craft proper regulations.

Hard to fit all that into a headline.


Andy
Castro City
on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm
Andy, Castro City
on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Posted by Paul_C, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, 14 hours ago

"Council fails to put temporary ban on pot clubs"

Interesting choice of words. I hardly see this as any kind of "failure" of the council.

----

Couldn't agree with you more! Nice little touch to add your own opinion in this article DeBolt.


Don Frances
Registered user
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm
Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor
Registered user
on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Andy,

Daniel DeBolt didn't write the headline, I did. See my comment about it above.


LocalGuy
Castro City
on Feb 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm
LocalGuy, Castro City
on Feb 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Once we get a dispensary nearby, I plan on finding a doctor in the Metro Paper who specializes in prescribing marijuana due to "chronic pain". Maybe stomach pain or back pain is what I will complain of. Then I'll certainly be headed to the dispensary as often as I want, and be relieved that I am "above the law".


PeaceLove
Shoreline West
on Feb 11, 2010 at 2:57 pm
PeaceLove, Shoreline West
on Feb 11, 2010 at 2:57 pm

LocalGuy: Are you serious or just a troll?

Regardless, millions of people worldwide use marijuana medically and outside the law to treat or allay a very wide variety of conditions, from terminal illness and chronic pain to depression, ADD and other psychological issues. Given that the people of California passed Prop 215, the "Compassionate Use Act," *fourteen years ago,* isn't it about time this miracle plant be made legally available in Mountain View to anyone who needs it?

Kudos again to the Council. Cities all over California have managed to allow dispensaries to open and operate safely within the law. Mountain View has plenty of industrial spaces that are far removed from schools, churches, and other "public gathering places." Furthermore, dispensary operators have a very strong incentive to be extra-prudent when operating, since they know the eyes of their host city are on them at all times.

Mountain View does not need to delay it's compassion any longer. A phone call to a sister city could get them all the information they need in five minutes. I call on the members to act now rather than introducing another delaying tactic at their next meeting.


The Realist
Castro City
on Feb 11, 2010 at 2:58 pm
The Realist, Castro City
on Feb 11, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Local Guy, why not just abuse prescription pain pills like the law abiding citizenry? You're just as free to do that now.
What part of "Well regulated" don't you understand? and if you're so concerned with abuse, what have you been doing to shut down Walgreens and RiteAid, the sources for the folks who are abusing far more dangerous drugs than pot.
Evolve ant think rationally or prepare to be an angry man for the rest of your stress shortened life..


LocalGuy
Castro City
on Feb 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm
LocalGuy, Castro City
on Feb 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I'm not angry, nor do I care for pain pills.

I actually smoke marijuana. But, like me, I have other friends who see this as a free ticket to smoke legally. I just want to make it clear that this whole setup promotes and allows people to do this. Due to this reason, I also believe this should be taxed. My girlfriend has a "card". My brother's wife has a "card". Neither one of them suffer from any chronic stress/disorder. Marijuana, does, however make them feel "good".


LocalGuy
Castro City
on Feb 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm
LocalGuy, Castro City
on Feb 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

"I have no interest in taxing what sick people need."

If it was a common view that sick people need marijuana, I don't think there would be so much controversy over it. Prescription medication is not taxed, but it is also covered by insurance. Until the insurance companies start covering marijuana payments, I believe marijuana should be taxed.


For The Record
Shoreline West
on Feb 15, 2010 at 5:14 am
For The Record, Shoreline West
on Feb 15, 2010 at 5:14 am

Hmmmmmm let's see...... so his "girlfriend" and his "brothers wife" both have obtained "cards" fraudulently but he is going to look for a different doctor in the metro?? Interesting "story".
If you think you can walk into most doctors offices with zero documentation to collaborate your "chronic pain" and walk out with a recommendation, you're apparently unfamiliar with the true reality.
Instead of just denying people like you and escorting you out, I wish the authorities were contacted as well.
As a compassionate and a progressive society we concluded decades ago that we wouldn't exploit patients and their conditions by applying tax to medication that ill people require to pursue good health and happiness.
The raw natural forms of botanical herbs and botanical teas aren't taxed unless they are served hot or consumed on the premise.
Justifying the tax because insurance companies don't cover the medication is foolish and absurd.
I trust our city council will embrace our sick and sufffering family members, friends, and neighbors. If you'd like to be led by heartless cowards, move to another city.


anon
Castro City
on May 16, 2010 at 10:06 pm
anon, Castro City
on May 16, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Medical marijuana is great for people with cancer, or just a little insomnia / lack of weed. The AMA finally said that marijuana can be a medicine in 2009, 13 years after the voters of California. Occasionally (much of the time) it is used recreationally.

It's much better to have dispensaries sell it like any other herb, and a little sales tax isn't so bad.

Look at San Jose, there's 26 dispensaries. That's a lot of demand for medical marijuana when there was none before. Everyone is starting to wake up to the fact that's it's better to be legal and get a doctor's recommendation. Then you can easily choose a dispensary or delivery service, and choose any high quality strain you want for better prices each and everyday. You can usually choose from 20 different strains of cannabis. Who are all these medical marijuana patients? Must be a large percentage of us, and there's still many more cannabis users without their recommendation.

California is on the forefront of this and it's a good thing. The truth is that it would be better to have dispensaries, delivery services, or you know, craigslist, then the support the cartels and illegal drug dealers with guns.

And all this is really just a preamble to legalization of marijuana in California, the U.S., and the world. Do you really want to make criminals out of your friends, family, and neighbors? Keep prisons full of marijuana dealers? This is why everyone is getting the recommendation until legalization happens.

Let the dispensaries open and let the market sort them out. And go on with your lives.


NonYa BeezWax
another community
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm
NonYa BeezWax, another community
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Cities and Police go into business with pot dealers taking illegal monies for gain, Hummm
So we become so desperate that we need to violate the laws ?
The key word is "ILLEGAL" ANYONE who participates in such ventures,sponsors is subject to Criminal prosecution, NO one is beyond the LAW, but then again their are those who believe they are. Its either LEGAL or ILLEGAL ...If the people or those who are responsible for such an act can and should be held accountable for their actions even those who turn a blind eye meaning LAW ENFORCEMENT for allowing such a act and taking NO action what so ever on a illegal activity.
NO one has the right to act on such and illegal issue or profit from UNTIL it is deemed legal.
Those who do this will become partners in crime, you are NO less or better then them aka: CO-CONSPIRATORS taking illegal money for profit.


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