Council allows pot deliveries to start Friday

City expected to draft rules for retail marijuana shops later this year

As of Friday, marijuana deliveries will be legal in Mountain View, but it will still be several months before retail pot shops could be allowed to open up in the city.

In a 7-0 vote, the Mountain View City Council agreed at its Jan. 16 meeting to allow pot deliveries in the city while local rules for cannabis retail store are considered over the coming months.

It was the latest discussion on local implementation of Proposition 64, the 2016 measure passed by voters to legalize recreational marijuana in California. Under the state law, recreational marijuana was made legal at the start of 2018, but cities were encouraged to draft their own policies to regulate the local pot industry.

Mountain View is one of the few cities in Santa Clara County that has shown interest in rolling out local marijuana retail businesses, but it's something that city officials have approached with caution. In December, City Council members said that they needed more time to fully study the impacts. So they decided to implement a 45-day moratorium on recreational pot sales to give them more time to draft local regulations.

As the moratorium was revisited on Tuesday, local lawmakers were asked to determine what kinds of marijuana businesses should be considered. Several public speakers urged the council not to hold up local recreational marijuana industry any longer by analyzing every possible impact.

Sean Kali-rai, a lobbyist for the cannabis industry, pointed to San Carlos. The Peninsula city had devoted considerable resources to studying marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facilities. But when San Carlos leaders finally approved their comprehensive laws, there were no businesses besides retail pot shops that were actually interested in opening up.

"This is just not the place where you want to grow farms or cultivation. You go to the Central Valley, or Stanislaus County or Humboldt to do that," Kali-rai said. "It would be a waste of energy on staff's part to study that."

For the most part, the City Council agreed. In Mountain View, the main interest is clearly on setting up retail sales of marijuana. The process should be much quicker if the city focused solely on drafting regulations for retail pot shops, said Councilman John McAlister.

Councilwomen Lisa Matichak and Margaret Abe-Koga disagreed, saying it didn't make sense to adopt regulations in a piecemeal fashion. Before deliveries or pot shops come to Mountain View, the city should first figure out how to tax the industry, Abe-Koga said.

"One of the arguments for allowing retail pot shots is that we can collect more revenues ... but we're going to let this through without figuring out that piece," she said. "If we're going to do this, we should do it right from the beginning."

This question was particularly vexing for marijuana delivery services. This would mean licensed pot shops from outside of Mountain View would be allowed to sell cannabis products in the city. Technically, deliveries are taxed at the point of origin, not the destination, explained City Attorney Jannie Quinn. Such business would also technically be required to get a city business license, which could be one way to levy local fees in the industry, according to city staff.

Twenty-nine U.S. states have legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana although it remains an illegal narcotic under federal law. The drug's uncertain legal status was made murkier last weeks when the Trump Administration signaled it could begin stepping up marijuana enforcement. On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he was rescinding a series of legal memos drafted by his Obama-appointed predecessor that shifted federal law enforcement away from state-sanctioned marijuana. It's still unclear whether this will result in any federal crackdowns.

The city will figure out marijuana fees and local rules for pot shops over the course of this year. As part of its approval, the council extended the moratorium on retail pot sales through the end of the year. In the coming months, city staffers say they will hold public meetings and conduct an online survey to gauge public opinion. The City Council is expected to convene a final meeting on licensing pot shops later this year.

Through the discussion, city leaders acknowledged that voters gave a clear mandate two years ago in support of recreational marijuana.

"We need to respond to the will of the voters," said Mayor Lenny Siegel. "There's people who'd like to operate within the law, and I want to provide them that opportunity."

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81 people like this
Posted by A Talking Cat
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 17, 2018 at 2:15 pm

And yet alcohol, which is way more dangerous to both its user and others, legal and available everywhere.

32 people like this
Posted by So much ado
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2018 at 2:18 pm

So I guess "Oops, my bad" for having it delivered over the past 10 years?
Nothing is really changing except that the bureaucracies of gov't are adjusting in the ways they have to.

13 people like this
Posted by @A Talking cat
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

People can, should, and will just grow their own. Nobody else has to be involved. That's one benefit over booze. The state won't let citizens make their own hard alcohol.

78 people like this
Posted by Ed Pollock
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 17, 2018 at 3:08 pm

The people,after years of voting, finally legalized pot..over a year ago..yet our elected officials still are still dragging there but..trying to figure out how they can either prevent the sale,or over tax it. One of the reasons why it was voted to be legal was to take away revenue from the black market, now with all the taxes and bickering, black market stuff is cheaper and still exists . Easy solution ..let all liquor stores and tobacco shops sell pot..maybe then people will cut back on liquor use, less DUI, less accidents.

7 people like this
Posted by Alan L.
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jan 17, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Quite amazing----lots and lots of comments here and elsewhere, and all based on recreational pot---there are also medicinal cannabis users who are being almost totally ignored. If you think you can grow your own, then make a medicinally clean tincture, and determine its ratios and potency---then perhaps. Get your head out of your self absorbed perception.

54 people like this
Posted by @Alan L
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2018 at 4:41 pm

Yes, once again MV screws it's citizens who have established, legal and documented medicinal needs for cannabis, in specific and verifiable potentiates.

Thanks to the unfeeling or ignorant Council members on this one.

53 people like this
Posted by Oeddie Rex
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2018 at 5:49 pm

Meanwhile, folks will just drive to San Jose to go to Airfield.

7 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 17, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Juan is a registered user.

That's great, people driving around town with trunks full of illegal (federal law) schedule 1 narcotics, delivering right across the street from homes and schools. What could possibly go wrong?

12 people like this
Posted by It's a Mad, Mad,Mad World
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2018 at 3:40 pm

It's a Mad, Mad,Mad World is a registered user.

That's it! I've lived too long! We now have door to door addictive drug delivery. It's bad enough that you can buy liquor in the drug store, the grocery store and every convenience store in town and you can have enough liquor delivered to your home to get the entire town drunk, now you can sit back, invite people over and get stoned without leave the house. What kind of a world have my grandchildren been born into?
Am I a dinosaur, a voice in the wilderness or does anyone agree with me?

6 people like this
Posted by MtnMan123
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 5, 2018 at 9:40 am

MtnMan123 is a registered user.

Community. I recently emailed Mountain View City Council asking them to reconsider allowing pot dispensaries in the City of Mountain View. I have two concerns 1) introducing marijuana and/or THC (liquid form) will increase the expose to teens in our community; 2) vaping is very trendy. Students are using these devices for nicotine consumption and if pot is allowed to be sold in town will begin using THC instead. Substance abuse is a problem. No one is addressing how a pot dispensary will affect the youth in our community. If marijuana and/or THC (liquid form) is allowed to be sold in our community then any store should be required to perform outreach regarding the negative affects of substance abuse. We can't allow such a store to come into our community and negatively affect it. Any store selling any vaping device should provide public outreach to the negative effects of using nicotine and THC. Possible public outreach could include: a. Brochures; b. videos showing people with substance abuse; c. school programs on why substance abuse can be bad; d. MSDS for the toxic affects of nicotine and THC.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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