Council keeps retail cannabis laws largely intact

Tweaks would further restrict where pot shops could be located

Protesters either in favor or against Mountain View allowing cannabis stores in the city silently hold up signs during public comment at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Mar. 5. Photo by Magali Gauthier

Striking a careful balance that shied away from an explosive debate over whether to ditch Mountain View's retail cannabis laws altogether, City Council members agreed Tuesday night to place more restrictions on where commercial pot can be sold within the city limits.

But the heart of the ordinance itself -- allowing up to four retail marijuana businesses within city limits -- prevailed Tuesday night. A motion to scrap the law and ban pot shops fizzled in a 2-5 vote, with Mayor Lisa Matichak and Margaret Abe-Koga in favor and Alison Hicks, Ellen Kamei, Chris Clark, John McAlister and Lucas Ramirez opposed.

The changes accepted by council members, including bigger buffer zones around schools, were surgical compared to the impassioned comments by the huge and deeply divided crowd at the meeting, many of whom advocated for either leaving the law untouched or killing the whole thing. A staggering number of people -- more than 130 -- spoke to the council over the course of nearly four and a half hours, with attendees spilling out of the council chambers.

A majority of those comments broadly opposed retail marijuana sales in Mountain View, with many calling for no cannabis businesses at all, citing a wide range of statistics and anecdotal stories about how it would ruin the family-friendly feel of the city, increase crime rates and damage the health of children and teens. Many pointed out that Milpitas had reversed course and banned dispensaries in November, and said Mountain View could do the same.

In October, the City Council set Mountain View apart from neighboring cities by voting to allow retail cannabis businesses to open in the city, laying out a lengthy process in which businesses could apply for conditional use permits. The ordinance allows a maximum of four cannabis businesses, of which two can be retail storefronts and two can be "non-storefront" warehouse and delivery businesses that can't make sales to walk-in customers.

Ten applicants are currently seeking one of those coveted spots through a lottery process, with the lottery scheduled to take place on March 27.

But just four months after approving the retail marijuana law and with the permitting process in full swing, newly elected Councilwoman Kamei proposed last month that the council take a step back and consider more restrictions, and a majority of the council agreed. Kamei insisted at the Tuesday meeting that her decision was not intended to be a political pivot from the prior council, and was instead an acknowledgment that "new information" has come to light and demands a revisit of the pot laws.

In particular, she said a new school proposed at the San Antonio shopping center left her uneasy about the area being a permitted zone for marijuana businesses, and that it may be worth enlarging the 600-foot buffer between cannabis businesses and all schools in the city, both public and private.

The decision to revisit the pot laws drew fast criticism, particularly from former council members. Former councilman Lenny Siegel, who lost his bid for re-election, said new council members Kamei and Hicks never took a clear stance on commercial cannabis or suggested they would seek to revise the law. Weakening the cannabis business laws after campaigning against them would be one thing, Siegel said, but it's quite another to propose surprise changes.

Despite the limited scope envisioned by Kamei, a groundswell of residents saw the March 5 meeting as an opportunity to drastically restrict marijuana businesses in Mountain View or ban cannabis sales altogether, reversing what they considered a huge misstep by the council in October.

"It will hurt the safety of our community," said one woman. "I am seriously thinking of moving away from Mountain View even though I really like it and it is (my) hometown for almost 10 years."

Some speakers argued that Mountain View, by being the only city between San Jose and Redwood City to allow marijuana businesses, would suddenly become a destination for an unsavory crowd, while others felt that Mountain View's decision undermines the moratoriums of its neighbors.

"Right now there is a plan to open a drugstore in my backyard, and I don't like that, and that will make all the past efforts by Sunnyvale council and Sunnyvale residents to fight against (marijuana) ... go to waste," said one man, shortly before accusing his opponents of having neurological damage caused by marijuana use.

Some of the most vocal critics against cannabis businesses in Mountain View have rallied behind a group called Better Mountain View, describing itself as an organization of volunteers objecting broadly to legal marijuana sales within the city's limits. A notice distributed by the group ahead of the March 5 meeting warned that the businesses would increase crime rates, threaten traffic safety and expose children and teenagers to drugs.

Speakers from both sides traded a dizzying number of data points and statistics at the March 5 meeting, much of it coming from Colorado and Washington. In numerous nearly identical letters sent to the council prior to the meeting, residents quoted data from former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, who claims that black market sales, youth marijuana usage and marijuana-related traffic fatalities are all up since legalization. These figures have been criticized as either misleading or incorrect.

Nearly 68 percent of the city's voters supported Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, in 2016, and 81 percent of Mountain View voters approved a tax on commercial cannabis sales by voting yes on Measure Q in November 2018. Supporter of retail marijuana in Mountain View point to this as proof that a silent majority supports cannabis sales, while opponents argue that it would be disingenuous to think those yes votes amount to a resounding endorsement of dispensaries.

Jackie McGowan, a representative from the public policy firm K Street Consulting, said the debate in Mountain View is a part of a larger issue: that marijuana is now legal to purchase, but 80 percent of the 482 cities and 58 counties in California still do not allow legal purchases within their jurisdictions. She said all eyes across the state are now on Mountain View as it weighs a potential reversal.

"I find it very concerning that a vocal minority continues to persuade local elected officials to thwart the will of the voters," McGowan said.

Mountain View resident Andrew Gasperini said voters made it overwhelmingly clear, more than once, that they are okay with retail marijuana within the city limits, and that he doesn't buy the argument that downtown Mountain View would be less family-friendly with a cannabis store. Plenty of businesses serve alcohol and bar entry for anyone under the age of 21, he said, and retail cannabis wouldn't be any different.

"Given the fact that marijuana has garnered almost twice as many votes as every single one of you council members every time it has been on the ballot, I seriously think you should consider your course of action," he said.

Councilman Clark said he was fully prepared to adjust the retail marijuana law based on "new information," which he said includes the San Antonio school proposal and the 10 applications received by the city, but he urged the council to avoid tearing up the ordinance passed in October. He said the city has an ongoing tradition, when a new council is sworn in following an election, to "respect" past decisions and avoid upending years of work.

"When we voted to start going down the path of adding housing in North Bayshore, we didn't rip up the (North Bayshore) Precise Plan that the prior council just passed," Clark said. "We didn't institute moratoriums, we didn't pull permits from people who have started investing in the process."

"Regardless of how one feels about cannabis or votes that occurred in the past, what we should focus on here is new information that we've received," he said.

Councilwoman Abe-Koga, who made clear from the outset that she opposed marijuana businesses in Mountain View, took a different approach and made the failed motion to reject the law and ban the businesses within the city limits. She said she questioned whether Mountain View would really get anything positive out of allowing cannabis businesses, and said her vote on Proposition 64 was for decriminalization -- not for stores in her neighborhood.

"We have not voted as a city to allow cannabis shops here," she said. "Let's be clear on what we voted on."

Abe-Koga also criticized people, including Siegel, who she believes turned the debate over marijuana into a racial issue because of the significant number of Chinese-American residents who oppose the law. She claimed she was asked by Siegel why Asian people oppose pot and that she didn't know how to answer. It feels like stereotypical comments have pushed a narrative that the opposition is a vocal minority of mostly Chinese residents, she said.

"If 50 white people show up to talk about housing we say that was a lot of people and we listen to them. But if we have 300 Asian people show up, why is there this question about whether they live here or if they're a minority or not? I really take offense to that," Abe-Koga said. "This is not a racial issue, and somehow it has been made to be one."

After the meeting, Abe-Koga told the Voice that a large number of Asian-American parents were galvanized by the issue and got involved in city politics, many for the first time, and that it was a strong grassroots community effort. For whatever reason, she said the ethnicity of this opposition group was suddenly a factor, and it reached a point Tuesday night where residents had to qualify their comments by identifying themselves as supporters of cannabis shops even though they are from the Chinese community.

"There are a lot of racist undertones in this conversation," Abe-Koga said.

Compromises on the way

All of the City Council's actions at the March 5 meeting must come back for a second vote, but council members did agree on several changes that would restrict where cannabis businesses could be located -- all while preserving the maximum of four businesses.

Two ideas put forth by Clark that ultimately won majority support were to allow only one retail cannabis store in downtown Mountain View, and to require a half-mile buffer between any two pot businesses. Prior to the 10 applications being submitted in February, Clark said he didn't expect so many interested businesses to be clustered tightly in the downtown corridor, and that his goal is to spread them out.

"I should have seen it coming, and I regret that I didn't before," Clark said.

Kamei proposed removing the city's San Antonio Precise Plan area from the allowed areas for retail marijuana businesses, which passed 6-0, with Ramirez recused due to a potential conflict of interest.

The most closely divided vote was over Abe-Koga's proposal to boost the size of buffers between cannabis businesses and "sensitive" land uses, including schools, substance abuse rehabilitation centers and churches. She said San Jose has 1,000-foot buffers between marijuana stores and schools and 150-foot buffers from places of religious assembly, and Mountain View ought to follow what has worked in San Jose.

Clark argued that the larger buffers make sense for San Jose because it's more than 10 times larger than Mountain View, saying that it would exclude large swaths of Mountain View. The motion passed 4-3 with Clark, Hicks and McAlister opposed.

One major challenge in making changes to the law is that 10 businesses are already going through the application process, with a lottery scheduled March 27 to determine which four will move forward. City staff couldn't say for sure at the meeting whether the council needed to adopt an urgency ordinance to suspend the permitting process until the law is amended.

Clark said his goal is to avoid amending the law in ways that unfairly hurts applicants who have poured time and resources into the process.

"I just don't want to get into a situation tonight where people who really invested time and money based on a prior decision that was made, whether we as a current council feel that was a good decision or not, are sort of being punished," he said.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


114 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 6, 2019 at 2:33 pm

A point not brought out clearly in this story is that perhaps two-thirds among those speakers opposed to any cannabis retailing sported preprinted signs and slogans of the "BetterMTV" group, and many of them also repeated similar messages including choice of wording -- some of which could be seen also on the group's website. It was like a single message repeated 50 times.

The same group has distributed multiple flyers, including one posted publicly recently, that make extremely dubious claims or implications about the consequences of cannabis retailing. I have seen these flyers and they seem intended to spread irrational fears, rather than promote serious informed examination of the subject.

31 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 6, 2019 at 2:55 pm

Oops. The article missed the key point that the Council asked the city to bring forth a proposal to amend the ordinance to use San Jose’s buffer rules. Staff stated that if the SJ buffer rules were used in the comparatively tiny area of MV, that there wouldn’t be any business allowed in the city at all. Council then passed it 4-3.

The 1,000 foot SJ buffer rules:

* A public or private preschool, elementary school, or secondary school;
* A child daycare center;
* A community or recreation center;
* A park; or
* A library

MV has a few big parks, but dozens and dozens of small ones interspersed throughout the city. 1,000 foot buffers around each of these leave very little space left over. But there are the daycare centers...those are everywhere too.

If the council passes an amendment in a future meeting that implements these buffer rules, dispensaries will be banned in MV.

48 people like this
Posted by Phillip Hofferman
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 2:56 pm

You can currently get delivery from SJ in MV. People act like adding additional stores will automatically make things unsavory in MV.

Hey MV City Council - Take the free tax dollars from cannabis sales and close our school funding budget. We need better funding for the arts and STEM in our schools.

7023 people like this
Posted by Abe Vigoda
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Council member Abe-Koga really lost my support on this one. I apologize to my fellow MV citizens for voting for her.

7 people like this
Posted by Long gone
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2019 at 3:02 pm


50 people like this
Posted by Kat
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2019 at 3:25 pm

Have any members of the city council visited a dispensary? I ask the same of any opponents. They are extremely professional. In fact, I highly recommend the Airport in San Jose. There is a procedure before you can make a purchase. There is private security, and they are polite. It's not like you are going to a skanky corner liquor store or creepy corner 7-11 where people are loitering about (how many of those do we have in MV right next to schools and daycare centers??). It's not a headshop either.

Not everyone going is there to get high. Many of the best products are THC free. Do we shop locally, or no?

77 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 3:27 pm

Jeremy Hoffman is a registered user.

Poster "Common sense" is right.

Ironically, the Better Mountain View site makes a bunch of unsubstantiated claims about the imagined dangers of marijuana, but ends with this disclaimer: "Accuracy of this website is not guaranteed!"

Well, at least they're self-aware.

A 2017 Yahoo News/Marist Poll found that 52% of American adults have tried marijuana at least once in their lives, and that 22% of American adults have used marijuana at least once in the past year.

How can something so commonplace still generate such passionate opposition?

You'd think we were walking about a nuclear waste dump, not a legal business for adults to exercise their rights to obtain a legal product!

123 people like this
Posted by TY
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 6, 2019 at 5:10 pm

I want to ask the supporters last night and above. How many of you "actually" live in mountain view and live close to the proposed cannabis shop locations? Do you own the property there? Or you are just lobbyist for the industry?
Not many people want to live close to airport, landfill for good, let alone the pot shop! Don't you worry about the decrease of your home value? I guess not because it is s*** in other's backyard! And I am so sick of the tears for cannabis business. Not being able to open at MV is just the money you did not earn. But having a pot shop is lost for everyone who owns a property near by! That's hard earned money and only home for many of us!!!

906 people like this
Posted by Thumb up for Abe-Koga
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 5:21 pm

Big applause to Abe-Koga for being so brave and fearless to preserve the dynamics of our community and make sure every race has the right to speak up! Thanks to our council members who fight really hard for our residents' right. On Tuesday's meeting there are 75 speakers against opening pot shops versus 50 for it. The intention of our residents are clear and determined. Many residents made hard effort to attend the meeting. I'd like urge our council member to continue evaluating this regulation carefully and listening to more facts and data from true MTV residents, instead of some cannabis lobbyist who cares money only. You only have the vote if you truly represent majority of MTV residents. Again, thanks Abe-koga!

161 people like this
Posted by Will
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2019 at 5:44 pm

I'm so disappointed with the result last night. I really want my neighborhood to be safe and clean. Adding pot shop to my neighborhood will definitely caused uncertainty, potentially more traffic accident or higher crime rate. I wish the city council could be conservative on controversial topic like this, especially when it is about health, safety, child-care. If you are not sure, just don't do it. If something bad happened in future, who will suffer?? Not the city council, not the pot shop owner, but the parents, the home owners, the tax payers.

67 people like this
Posted by Pandering to mob
a resident of Gemello
on Mar 6, 2019 at 6:16 pm

@Thumb up for Abe-Koga

"On Tuesday's meeting there are 75 speakers against opening pot shops versus 50 for it. The intention of our residents are clear and determined. Many residents made hard effort to attend the meeting. I'd like urge our council member to continue evaluating this regulation carefully and listening to more facts and data from true MTV residents, instead of some cannabis lobbyist who cares money only. You only have the vote if you truly represent majority of MTV residents"

So what are you suggesting? A majority of MV residents are against opening pot shops in MV. Just because the council heard from 125 people in no way tells you what the majority of residents ( 75,000 residents or 20,000 voters) think about this issue. Council members are elected by residents but in no way is this a majority since you can vote for more than one candidate. Pandering to the mob that shows up at a council meeting in no way represents the majority of what residents want. Also, we live in a representative democracy where our politicians are elected to make good decisions that also protect minority rights. Otherwise the mob majority will exploit the minority of residents who have different viewpoints. A council member that panders to the mob that shows up at meetings will be easily influenced on decisions. All one has to do is get a large number of people to show up and bully them.

93 people like this
Posted by Some people live in NEVER NEVER LAND
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 6, 2019 at 7:57 pm

There can be no "legal" sale of marijuana until Congress changes federal law. Growing, selling and distributing marijuana are CRIMES under federal law. But many residents of California and especially in cities like San Francisco and Mountain View imagine and insist they are above federal law. Heck, California even has its own immigration policies. Federal law be damned.

86 people like this
Posted by Cuesta Park homeowner
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 10:00 pm

Council is forgetting the fact that the predicted drop in property tax revenue due to decrease or stagnation in home values will offset any gains in revenue from the pot shops.

59 people like this
Posted by @ Pandering to mob
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 10:06 pm

Then why even have council meetings open to the public?

Less than 50% of Mountain View residents voted in the last election.

Many people cannot show up for meetings, as they have lives (kids, tech people working late, etc).

When polls are taken, only a small portion of the populace is polled and there is a statistical significance to it.

Many more anti-pot citizens would have shown up if they could--I am in an online group of about 300 people who oppose it.

74 people like this
Posted by @ Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 10:11 pm

Do you think it's ok for kids to smoke weed? Because that is what you are implying, saying it is so commonplace and--more or less--that everyone does it (52%).

Name ONE benefit for a normal kid to smoke/eat/ingest/etc. cannibis, and I will concede.

76 people like this
Posted by Good luck, Kamei
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 10:13 pm

Ellen just lost a boatload of votes. Sad! I'm sorry to say I voted for her, had a sign in my front yard for her, and encouraged others to vote for her.

27 people like this
Posted by @ Common Sense
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 10:16 pm

You don't get it--Mountain View and San Jose will be the ONLY cities in the area with pot shops. So many other cities have downright rejected them. If that one group in MV is spreading irrational fears, it looks like there were lots of these independent groups spreading irrational fears all over the bay area. But, those others probably spread even more irrational fears! The horror!

63 people like this
Posted by @ Kat
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 10:24 pm

Yes, I have visited a dispensary and purchased product in SJ. They are modern and smell a bit. The outside looks no different than a Monte Carlo or other downtown "seedy" establishment.

That being said, the main point is that the previous city council and now the current city council are mostly oblivious to the fact that the citizens never voted for these dispensaries. They were railroaded by out-of-town special interest groups that were desperate after getting rejected everywhere but SJ. And why wouldn't these groups try so hard? They have a lot to gain but a lot to lose also.

The main point in all this is that the MV residents didn't vote for it. End of story. Let's put it to a vote. If they don't want us to vote, it means they are corrupt.

The silver lining is that most of these losers will be voted out the next time around.

130 people like this
Posted by Interested
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Mar 6, 2019 at 10:50 pm

The woman featured in the photo in the MV Voice today, is an out of town corporate lobbyist for commercial marijuana stores. She was at the meeting (under the last Council) and spoke of how great it will be to have marijuana stores in MV - but never disclosed what she does or where she's from. When she sat down, I asked her is she works for the corporate marijuana distributors and she admitted she did. So again last night, there she stands with a "Respect our Vote" sticker on her suit as though she was simply a MV resident that was in favor of pot stores!

I'd like full disclosure of the funding of "Respect our Vote" and if anyone in our city receives any form of renumeration from the corporate marijuana industry? That ad in the Voice by Lenny Siegel (past Council member soundly defeated in his run for reelection) urging people to NOT revise the four places in town where marijuana would be available - was expensive. I'm not claiming anything suspicious, I'd simply like to know the funding source.

The "Respect our Vote" group also had a FaceBook petition that failed, as it garnered few signatures and most were from out of town - so they removed the city designation from the site! I commented on the FaceBook post and they DELETED my comment. I guess they didn't want contrasting information?

Our Council should be concerned with the will of the citizens in Mountain View, whom they were elected to REPRESENT - not the out of town commercial dealers.

100 people like this
Posted by info
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 6, 2019 at 11:34 pm

info is a registered user.

+1 to Interested

The lady featured in the photo is not a MV resident. A man holding "Respect our Vote" came from north bay. Were they organized / supported by some special interest group? How are MV council members supposed to respect non-mv-residents' vote?

I'd like full disclosure of the funding of "Respect our Vote" and if anyone in our city receives any form of renumeration from the corporate marijuana industry

84 people like this
Posted by Don't twist our vote!
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 6, 2019 at 11:41 pm

More than enough have been said repeatedly that no one in MV had ever voted for opening pot shops in our city! The vote was about decriminalizing marijuana uses. They are totally irrelevant. But some interest group has determined to intentionally confuse the concepts and twist our vote, yet they call themselves "Respect Our Vote"... How ironic!!!

4 people like this
Posted by Votes Two Times
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 2:50 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

8 people like this
Posted by The Majority
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 2:55 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

21 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 7, 2019 at 6:24 am

The initiative process was used in California because Californians were (and are) tired of being demonized by the federal government because some prefer a cannabis high to being stupidly drunk on alcohol. Normalizing the use of cannabis was and is the premier intent of the entire legalization movement, and the status quo had best just get out of the way& concede that cannabis users have exactly the same rights to acquire and consume their substance as do the alkies, who have far, far more "Open and easily accessible" opportunities to do so. As Mr. Siegel so sagely pointed out, there are a vast number of the people around you who are moral and responsible citizens that use cannabis either for recreation or medicine and anyone who does not think so is "living in a dream world." The noisy minority activists flooding the Chambers complaining there ought to be no access at all within Mountain View have exhibited symptoms of Reefer Madness. There won't be crowds of loiterers on Castro, there won't be kids getting into the shops. Their kids have a better chance of getting black market weed a lot easier than they will getting it our of one of these stores. There will be a day (maybe not so soon, but it will come) when the country realizes there's still big differences between the clientele & environment of your average bar and the clientele & environment of your average pot shop. But cannabis users deserve the same rights (and responsibilities) as those who use alcohol. Hasten the day.

29 people like this
Posted by A resident
a resident of Gemello
on Mar 7, 2019 at 8:22 am

"Reefer Madness" is a highly respected documentary put out by the US government.Realizing how DANGEROUS pot is and profusely thanking the US government for the information documentary, the Chinese showed up to stop the insanity.
Unfortunately the city council did not see the light.

Had the city council banned Marijuana shops, I would have organized an effort to rid our dear city of all the places which serve alcohol, which as we know is very very bad.

37 people like this
Posted by TY
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 7, 2019 at 8:27 am

@Votes Two Times
SEC. 43.6. Tax payment does not authorize activity.
This is clearly stated in measure Q. Collecting tax does not mean people want the shop near their homes. Delivery also applies.

65 people like this
Posted by pointing out the obvious
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 7, 2019 at 8:31 am

It's not racist to point out the obvious - that the "no pot shop" idea has caught on asymmetrically across different groups, with a high number of asian people represented in that category. It's not racist to ask why - that is what social science does.

181 people like this
Posted by Love mountain view
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 7, 2019 at 10:10 am

Love mountain view is a registered user.

+1 to TY
Vote on Measure Q means: if Mountain View must have a pot shop, do you want to tax it or not?
Well, if there has to be pot shop, let's at least collect some money to make it unattractive!

59 people like this
Posted by MVHSparents
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 7, 2019 at 10:58 am

MVHSparents is a registered user.

California Voters passed Proposition 64 in November 2016 is to legalize usage of cannabis, it was not to vote for opening pot shops!

In early 2018, City of Mountain View did survey on Cannabis, only 1,595 people responded, and vast majority of residents were not aware of the survey. Also, the survey was only conducted in English, it was not available in other languages. MV public was not well informed. Also, response to survey is not to vote!

Don’t mix up these two simple facts, intentionally or unintentionally!

46 people like this
Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 11:53 am

AC is a registered user.

I just wanted to point something out, for those who weren't aware:

It wasn't just the Chinese community that came out to the meeting to share their views.

And among the Asians specifically, I heard both Korean and Vietnamese accents.

When we think about diversity, I think we need to consider all of our diversity. Asian, Latin-American, European, old, young, rich, poor, owners, renters.

35 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 7, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Jeremy Hoffman is a registered user.

To answer some questions impugning my motives or sincerity:

Yes, I live in Mountain View. I was a renter for almost a decade and became a homeowner in 2017.

Yes, I support having a pot shop in my neighborhood. I have no reason to believe that such a store will harm my property value.

And, by the way, my personal profit from property values is not a good reason to inflict policies that harm other people. For example, I think it's immoral that we've made it illegal to build denser, more affordable housing that would help Mountain View teachers, firefighters, and gas station attendants, especially if the motivation is that I stand to profit from a government-enforced monopoly on housing supply. If something serves the needs of members of my community, whether housing or legal marijuana, I say "YIMBY" -- "Yes in my backyard!"

No, I do not have any affiliation with the marijuana business. In fact, I'm in the 48% of American adults who have never tried marijuana in their lives. (I might like to try it some day, though, as is my right!)

No, I don't support children consuming marijuana products, just like I don't support children consuming alcohol or tobacco products -- both of which can be purchased at dozens of Mountain View locations! Did Jane's Beer Store and Total Wine tank the property values of nearby homes? Apparently not, as median sale price of Mountain View homes nearly doubled in the past five years.

Hope this helps clear things up.

In the interests of constructive dialog, I am interesting in trying to understand why people strongly opposing marijuana dispensaries. Please do share your opinions (without resorting to personal attacks against those who have a different opinion).

35 people like this
Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 1:03 pm

AC is a registered user.

@Jeremy Hoffman

I want to first thank you for your post. You have left me with a strong impression of someone I can respect, so much so that whatever we may agree or disagree on has the chance to be productive. I keep telling people whom I know, for all the passion and anger that seems to abound, there are cool people everywhere.

But also it will make my response to your question easier:
- No, I do not support marijuana storefronts. Definitely not in high-traffic areas where people congregate; certainly not near schools or places where children gather

At present, I have three primary reasons:
- I believe that the medicinal benefits of marijuana should be as available as any other medication, therefore not to require storefronts in the first place. I think that cannabis products as medicine should be available at any place where any medication can be purchased. I believe that it continues to stigmatize cannabis as a controlled substance if we do not do this. Whatever the final decision on storefronts, I do firmly believe that medicine is bought at the drugstore, not at a bar/lounge/adult-congregation place.
- I do not wish to open any more liquour stores, gun stores, or adult bookstores; therefore I am opposed to a marijuana store. However I support the responsible use of all of the above by every person (of legal age as defined by law). As it turns out, one of the greatest indicators of "responsible use" correlates with availability. Committed rational decision-making obtains items of all of these categories without the impulse-buying temptation of a storefront. In other words: dealing with the hassle is one of the indicators that you thought it through.
- Lastly and most importantly: my biggest reason for being opposed to it is because I have not heard more voices like yours. The proponents of it whom I have encountered either online or in person are so passionately and angrily in favour of it that I immediately question their motivation. Particularly because they are crying bloody murder about defying the will of the people who passed Proposition 64. The process of which is so suspect to me that my only instinct is to scrutinize their position more carefully. I voted to decriminalize cannabis, but I never voted to change the landscape of the city to offer it as an alternative to alcohol, black-market, or any of the other (very valid) arguments made by the pro-storefront people. To misinterpret the situation to bend it to their own agenda bothers me very deeply, and is in fact what I to believe to be the root of many of our societal problems.

All of that said, I am myself a resident of Mountain View for over two decades, and if the majority of my neighbors truly wish it, then I will absolutely respect it without sore feelings or doubletalk.

But the more time passes with this issue, the more I feel that an actual vote on the issue is the only way to know for sure. Both proponents and opponents of the issue are so worked up into a frenzy of unreasonableness that it becomes hard to know what to believe. And I am immediately averse to giving assent to whomever shouts loudest.

28 people like this
Posted by rain4ever
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 7, 2019 at 1:25 pm

rain4ever is a registered user.

@Jeremy Hoffman

To answer your question:
1) Congrats on becoming a home owner in the city we both love. You have no reason to believe pot shop will hurt your property value. You don't live close to a proposed location but I do. I live across the street from one proposed location. So you can't really stand in my shoes as of now. YIMBY is just hypothetical and your personal will without even considering whether your neighbors want that too :) I am worried, not just about the home value, but potential higher risk of traffic accident, robbery, bad air... When people are worried, they are less likely to consider living nearby. Jane's Beer Store and Total Wine tank are not really good examples, if you look at the map and see the distance from resident area. Also I don't think it is fair to compare alcohol with weeds. Cannabis is more controversial and has worse image.
2) I also don't think it is fair to compare having pot shop available in MV with building higher density housing. One is a controversial leisure right while the other is basic living right. Just like how you feel about higher density housing in terms of morality. Selling cannabis can still be considered as negative and not ethical by anyone based on their personal moral standard or their personal religion belief , no matter it is legal or not in this city/state. Please don't confuse medical use with this please.
3) I am surprised that you mentioned "not able to have pot shop in MV while can still get it online or san jose" as a harm of other people but totally ignored the harm that can be made to people who are opposed to it. Yes, higher risk, mental health, and potential bad property and neighborhood image are harms.
4) I go to public hearing and post here to make sure my voice is heard. I cannot vote yet and I did not receive the survey (which is really limited) last year. This is the only way to be heard. Even i could have voted, measure Q is such a tricky one that put people like me in dilemma and confusion.

35 people like this
Posted by ResidentSince1982
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 1:29 pm

ResidentSince1982 is a registered user.

The council members know that a majority of residents are OK with the ordinance they passed. Just because some WeChat group roused up a lot of Chinese citizens who live in the U.S. to come in and complain about the ordinance, there's little evidence of a majority opposition. There aren't Korean and Vietnamese people in general on WeChat. It's a contentious issue. 2 on the council voted against the ordinance in the first place. It's very concerning that it appears there was a hidden move that may have affected who got elected in the last election. There were so many candidates that it's hard to say that the most well supported people did get elected. If the election had been run again leaving out the bottom 1/4 of finishers, different people might have won. I'm not saying it should have, but just that too many choices causes results indeterminate of the actual sentiments of the voters. I think the council is making the determination that a majority of the voters support the original ordinance, and many of them even object to tweaks at this point.

But one of the comments above says the purpose of the open meetings is to allow demonstrations during the public comment period. Otherwise, the question is asked "why have open meetings?" This reflects a complete ignorance of the process of representative democracy in the U.S. The meetings are open so that the voters will know what is going on. Congress is open too, and there is no way to do public comment to Congress. That is there is no way to do public comment to a congressional general session. People can be invited to testify to committees, and anyone can comment to one congressman at a time. The public comment portion is only a small part of the system.

46 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 7, 2019 at 1:40 pm

Common sense is a registered user.

Yesterday after the first few diverse comments to this story I wondered how long it would take for the now-familiar pattern to appear: a series of new comments in quick sequence under unregistered user names, hostile to all cannabis retailing, with rhetoric echoing the BetterMTV group, casting wild speculations about other commenters' motives (TY: "Or you are just lobbyist for the industry?"), followed by waves of obviously artificial up-voting on their "Like" buttons (10 or 20 increments at a time). See "TY," Thumb up...," and "Will," above, for examples. That behavior pattern became familiar in the last few Voice stories on this subject. And someone who clearly does not know the title's stigma or longtime reputation in the US even wrote '"Reefer Madness" is a highly respected documentary put out by the US government' -- a quotable gaffe, and apparently too much even for the "Like"-count manipulators (so far, anyway).

Once again: I don't use cannabis shops and yes, I live near potential sites downtown. The people who keep desperately, insistently grasping at rhetorical arguments like "When polls are taken, only a small portion of the populace is polled" or "no one in MV voted for opening pot shops" are the ones who don't get it. The trend is clear to anyone who looks objectively at the three recent referendums (Prop 64, Measure Q, and the City poll), not blinded by fearful ignorance about cannabis or by burlesque 1930s propaganda ("Reefer Madness"). Large majorities supported each referendum, and quibble or nit-pick all you want about each, the overall message and trend is unmistakable.

Not everyone approved though, and we're hearing from some of those here. As many as a third of MV residents oppose any cannabis retailing in this city. The real question now, shorn of all their flamboyant rhetoric (so visible on this comments page), is if it's right for those dissenters to block the majority. Should the tail really wag the dog?

11 people like this
Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 1:46 pm

AC is a registered user.

@Common Sense

No, the tail should not wag the dog. That's not democracy.

I'm actually not as worked up about the issue of cannabis dispensaries as I am about the process by which it's all going down. If the majority truly wants them, then as you say the dog should wag the tail.

I have heard reasonable points both for and against it, and if those reasonable points influence the outcome more than the anger and complaining, I'll be contented.

51 people like this
Posted by Interested
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Mar 7, 2019 at 3:01 pm

Interested is a registered user.

I am weary of the "pro" side twisting the vote to tax marijuana dispensaries to mean 81% of MV residents favored these dispensaries in town. NO that is not the case - so please STOP your constant misrepresentations. (I thank the moderators for catching some of these fakes (who even post under several names) and deleting their comments.)

Since the former Council voted to allow marijuana sales in our city, people in opposition voted to AT LEAST TAX THEM with Measure Q. This absolutely did NOT mean we favored the sale of these products. There will be costs to MV taxpayers for having dispensaries in town, and hopefully this tax will cover at least some of those costs. And by the way.... this tax will NOT benefit parks and schools as the "pro pot" people FALSELY CLAIM. It will help pay for accounting, required police protection, and any other associated expenses to the City in dealing with this "business". That fact was even listed in the Measure Q description, so give up that fake argument please.

The "survey" was not representative of MV residents view, as it reached less than 2000 of our over 80,000 residents - and most were not even aware the survey existed.

The most vociferous advocate of marijuana storefronts in MV was Lenny Siegel, who was soundly rejected by MV voters in his run for re-election. Now he continues to push so hard that he posts ads for supporters in the MV Voice and encourages supporters for a FaceBook poll. Both garnered an embarrassing low signage, and so many were out of town that they DELETED the home city of people who signed and deleted any negative comments. It was another humiliating defeat for him - yet he continues to advocate for the corporate marijuana dealers. Why so desperate?

The pathetic "Respect our Vote" group even had commercial lobbyists posing as MV residents (with "Respect our Vote" clothing stickers) at this Tuesday's Council meeting. There were people from the North Bay holding "Respect our Vote" signs. Who is sponsoring this? Who is paying for the ads and signage? Obviously, they DON'T respect our vote, as they do all they can to TWIST our vote. I object to out of town people masquerading as MV residents and trying to influence our Council. I understand that commercial dealers (and perhaps their supporters) stand to make a lot of money in Mountain View - and as they have been soundly rejected in all other Peninsula cities - they are frantic to get a foothold here. Marijuana products are available with only a 30 MINUTE delivery time from San Jose, so availability is NOT a problem.

It's astounding that some people actually have the thought process that since we allow alcohol and tobacco sales, we should allow marijuana products. Alcohol and tobacco are legal throughout the US. Marijuana still isn't. Just because we have two products that can have very negative consequences, we should just throw in a third? What a ridiculous argument.

If we want to see how MV voters really feel, it would take a city wide vote. Right now, we have the commercial interests buying their way into a city that never voted to allow that.

33 people like this
Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 3:07 pm

AC is a registered user.


A like button just isn't enough. I'd clap so hard my arms would get sore.

Very well said.

If Mountain View really wants it, then let Mountain View make the decision.

44 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 7, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Common sense is a registered user.

See, here again. Every possible rhetorical spin deployed (complete with ANGRY CAPITAL LETTERS!) to try to rationalize the writer's notions. Projecting speculative motives onto Lenny Siegel and everyone else who disagrees with the commenter. That comment by "Interested" demonstrates the mind-set that believes the louder, oftener, or more aggressively you assert something, the more valid it must be! When such a person's errors of reasoning are pointed out dispassionately, they just respond louder and angrier. Yet, speaking of minority views, theirs is still just one person's (whatever else they may angrily claim).

In this stubborn we-didn't-vote-on-exactly-the-question-we-want-to thinking, the problem always is that the world doesn't work that way, at all. City staff don't poll every citizen, they float an informal poll and get a rough reading from it. Standard MV procedure for years. That procedure showed one-third opposed to cannabis citywide. Fine, point made. But people who do not like that result keep repeating that they should stand on one foot and hold their breath until a poll happens exactly to their liking. Anything less is attacked as illegitimate in their eyes.

Further, someone sincerely objecting to "out of town people masquerading as MV residents and trying to influence our Council" also therefore objects, foremost, to the many people brought in by "BetterMV" who ignored the mayor's repeated requests to state town of residence. And having objected to that, also is logically demanding to know "Who is sponsoring" BetterMTV, and "Who is paying for [its] ads and signage?" Of those with BetterMTV signs who did state residence, many did admit being from outside MV, and that group was *by* *far* the largest organized body attending, as everyone knows who witnessed the meeting -- at least a third of all speakers -- far outnumbering the smaller smattering of people with "Respect Our Vote" signs that make the frustrated commenters here so indignant.

37 people like this
Posted by ResidentSince1982
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 4:39 pm

ResidentSince1982 is a registered user.

Well, I can't see very many people voting YES on taxing the sale of marijuana if they were determined to oppose this. There was no big opposition prior to placing the tax on the ballot. That was when there could have been objections. The council heard then from for and against. You can't use 81% as the number that support the stores being permitted, but you can say it's likely that >50% do agree with the policy. 81% is a big margin. Voting No on that tax was an easy way to oppose the stores.

Why did this not become an issue in the election? There was plenty of use of the homeless issue in the election. If people really opposed the marijuana sales then they'd have made that an issue for all candidates too. Instead some WeChat group was used to organize and pass the whisper campaign that certain of the candidates were anti-sale. This was not made clear to all of the people who had the choice to vote for those candidates or not.

Yes, I don't like the process either. But it was the process by which the council election was conducted that raises concern with me. There will be future elections. The council could vote to change the marijuana sales rules. It's just a starting point that was approved, and it should be given a year before changes.

38 people like this
Posted by Interested
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Mar 7, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Interested is a registered user.

Dear (lack of) Common Sense,

Yes... I was hoping (since you refuse to hear factual arguments) shouting at you might get your attention. Even that didn't work, as you continue to twist and deflect when trying to make your false arguments valid. Why is it so vital to you to have Mountain View be the marijuana distributor for the entire Peninsula? If you need it so desperately, it's available (as I said) in 30 minutes. You cannot wait that long?

So... continue to live in your little wishful world of make believe. The "hey what about THIS" arguments you make, are just more deflections. The legitimate way to see how valid Mountain View residents feel about marijuana distributorships in MV, is an actual sanctioned vote.

42 people like this
Posted by AE
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 7, 2019 at 5:14 pm

AE is a registered user.

I am really disappointed with Council member Chris Clark, all he cares about is cannabis company’s interest.

41 people like this
Posted by MVHSparents
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 7, 2019 at 5:45 pm

MVHSparents is a registered user.

I was at the meeting, I trusted that people were honest to state their residency. There were people from opposing-pot side said they were from other cities, but majority of the opposing side were from Mountain View!!!

Why the fact is so hard to swallow? Buck-up and be ready for the reality that when people really care about the issues, they come out and speak up!

1 person likes this
Posted by Rafael
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 7, 2019 at 7:45 pm

Rafael is a registered user.

image drivers high on LSD.

28 people like this
Posted by NancyW
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2019 at 7:48 am

NancyW is a registered user.

It’s so funny that Abe Vigoda’s comment gained 6100+ ‘Likes’ overnight. It was increased from 850 Likes (around 11:30pm last night) to 6931 (this morning). Someone did sth...

Like this comment
Posted by NancyW
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2019 at 7:51 am

NancyW is a registered user.

12 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 8, 2019 at 9:10 am

Jeremy Hoffman is a registered user.

@AC and @rain4ever, likewise, I appreciate your thoughtful and civil posts!

AC, this argument you made is the best I've heard: "one of the greatest indicators of responsible use correlates with availability. Committed rational decision-making obtains items of all of these categories without the impulse-buying temptation of a storefront. In other words: dealing with the hassle is one of the indicators that you thought it through."

I had been implicitly assuming that the discreet storefronts and the cumbersome ID-verification entry process would be sufficient to deter impulse-buying, but I can definitely see where you are coming from.

Thank you for giving me something to think about.

38 people like this
Posted by Moment of Truth
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:28 pm

Moment of Truth is a registered user.

Wow over 6000 likes overnight for the comment by abe vigoda against Vice mayor Margaret Abe-koga! Good job robot clicking! A new low in smearing opponents with technology. MV-voice needs to monitor the unusual clicks sponsored by whoever that obviously doesn't like Margaret's position in cannabis policies. Racism, robot clicks, paid Asian speakers to rally for cannabis industry - what's next, Lenny?

14 people like this
Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:37 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

There's something so perfect about a poster here alleging racism while at the same time claiming that the Asian-Americans at the City Council meeting were paid speakers. It makes it quite clear that Margaret Abe-Koga's supporters are making claims of racism in bad faith, simply to smear their political opponents.

The Trumpification of our Council under Mayor Matichak and Vice Mayor Abe-Koga continues unabated. How long until they campaign on "Mountain View First" and sport "Make Mountain View Great Again" hats?

29 people like this
Posted by Moment of Truth
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:58 pm

Moment of Truth is a registered user.

@Randy Guelph It seems that you tailgate every post that questions the credibility of Lenny and the necessity of pot shops in MV. Bravo for investing so much time in defending the industry! I was at the council meeting and happened to overhear some Asian speakers with "respect our vote" stickers talking to each other. One was asking the other:"what should I say? I don't know what's going on.Just write some sentences for me so that I can read." Very real speakers! How low can this get? Cannabis industry really tries hard this time.

14 people like this
Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 8, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

I think it's very inappropriate, and frankly more than a bit racist, for you to insinuate that the Asian-Americans speaking at our City Council were uninformed and mindlessly repeating what people told them. Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean they are paid, that they can't think for themselves, etc. These tropes have been used against Asian-Americans for too long, and I hope Margaret Abe-Koga rebukes them.

12 people like this
Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2019 at 2:54 pm

AC is a registered user.

@Jeremy Hoffman

Thank you for helping make this thread a civil place to have actual discourse and share perspectives.

I hope it's okay with you if I share some more thought regarding your original question. Some of it is not material to the actual issue, but it explains my thought process a bit more as your original invitation for comment was in order to understand the views of others.

Medicinal/palliative use of cannabis for me is the biggest no-brainer. Science and study has been revealing the beneficial uses of cannabis for years, so I think my support for it is no-brainer. The first and most compelling case to me is for those who use cannabis medicinally. I voted for that without a second thought.

I simply can't piece together that sole-product (cannabis) storefronts is necessary to serve that need. There are other ways. Indeed an entire system in place. I can't understand why a person who uses cannabis for medicine shouldn't be able pick some up at the 24-hour Walgreens. What is letting down these people is not the lack of storefronts, but the slow update of the pharmacy system and federal regulation and the like.

I get that progress is slow, but we are making progress in that area. As I mentioned, I'm not comfortable with loud anger being used to short-circuit the process. The process itself must be fixed in my opinion: CBD and cannabis-based medicine needs to be de-stigmatized and as normal as penicillin or hydrocodone (itself an opiate).

As for the dangers and side-effects, I think of it similarly to opium in that it can be used for both productive and destructive effect. People have argued that medicinal use of cannabis is more effective and productive than hydrocodone or oxycontin, and I absolutely agree based upon people close to me who have used it medicinally. It's just that an entirely different system and industry regulates that.

Although I do not currently use these products, I am glad that it is legal for me to realize the benefits of medicinal cannabis should the need ever arise. But I admit that it's easy for me to be patient about it because I do not currently have any conditions where I would use it.

That said, if I ever needed to, I know that I have the means with which to obtain such products that do not include dark alleys in the middle of the night.

Now the recreational use of marijuana is a different issue to me. But I did vote for it as well. Cannabis proponents have made the case that it is less destructive and addictive than alcohol which is perfectly legal. I agree with that too, so voting for it was also no-brainer.

So here's where it gets a little trickier. I am in the 52% who have used marijuana before and my perspective is molded by that in a lot of ways. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Like most teens do at some point or other, I smoked weed socially with friends.

But it was a phase. When I got to the time in life when I had to get more serious about things like studies and getting a decent job and knowing how to put on a professional image at work and whatnot, I stopped smoking it. There was no real drama around, and no particular social stigma around it. I'm sure you've noticed that the Pacific Northwest was one of the first to legalize it. But I can say that even when it was not legal and technically a crime, I never knew anyone who was prosecuted for it. It was added to the list of charges if you had done something else (like assault, robbery, minor-in-possession, contributing to the delinquency of minors, etc). No one I knew was ever arrested for smoking weed or being high (unless they were disorderly). And honestly, most pot smokers that I've known, met, or encountered are so chill that they're not being disorderly anyway.

My personal experience agrees with those who argue that cannabis is not physically addictive in and of itself. I have noted that it's quite easy for someone to start or stop smoking it. I have never known anyone who had to detox from marijuana (unlike alcohol or hard drugs).

That said, I am uncomfortable with those who passionately argue for marijuana because in my personal experience, marijuana isn't the issue. It's a plant, an herb, and I don't find anything inherently evil about it.

But there is such a thing as social and psychological addiction. I have seen people adopt certain lifestyles, neglect their responsibilities, get high and jam in the garage for hours and never put out an album, etc.

Which I find doubly odd because as I mentioned, I have observed the medical use of marijuana to provide some chill and calm anxieties.

In other words, I don't find marijuana to be addictive or of itself a problem.

I find *wanting* to be stoned a problem. I find *wanting* to be able to get some weed quickly and easily, rolling a blunt and toking in the parking lot to be a problem.

This is where I understand the opponent of the storefront.

Jeremy, what bothers me the most about the marijuana issue is not marijuana. It's peoples' toxic attitudes both for it and against it. All of the responsible users of cannabis that I know, whether they use it recreationally or medicinally, don't use it as a lifestyle or a nexus for social change. It's just something they do, and it's really not any of anyone else's business.

And those same people already have trusted sources of herb. By the way, if I ever needed any, those same people would also serve as my own trusted sources for herb. I don't see that process as broken.

In a time when people want organic, fair trade, free range things from coffee to vegetables to families going halfsies to buy a cow, I don't see why someone wouldn't want to get their herb from a grower.

With regard to Measure Q and tax revenue, the same model applies. The taxes come from the same places as a farmer selling produce. It's a plant. The grower, the distributor, the same supply chain has its own set of taxes and fees.

So indeed, the idea of a marijuana storefront strikes me the same as a liquour store or a gun store. I don't own a gun, but I could. I don't have a liquour cabinet, but I could. Convenience has no real bearing on it.

Which again engenders my sympathy for the anti-storefront people. They contend that once rolled out, it's hard to roll back.

Yeah, that's true.

One of the speakers at the City Council Meeting also submitted that marijuana today (the herb itself, not the CBD derivatives) is fortified and GMO'd like other cash crops. They contend that it's not good old natural mary jane anymore.

I haven't smoked it in over two decades, so I can't confirm or deny it. But I believe them.

Another speaker spoke of the dangers of marijuana as a gateway drug. I sympathize with the person, but I can't agree. I don't know of anything actually addictive in (pure natural) marijuana itself. But I do know the addiction of peer pressure and keeping up with the party crowd which one falls in with. I'm happy for them that they got away from it.

I found the statistics quite interesting (you can watch the City Council Meeting recording to hear them). Unless the data is wrong, then the data is the data.

So in my own thought process, I've arrived at the following:
- I should probably not be influenced by fear or demonization of cannabis. I should however listen respectfully to those who share their views about it. But my views and experiences reflect otherwise

- I should probably not be influenced by the strong advocacy of the virtues of marijuana. Science itself is revealing the benefits, and the social experiment which has resulted from legalization will yield us more actual results. The actual data is making their case for them better than their emotional advocacy. There are some things they are correct about, and I think it's enough.

- It's legal. That's progress for the pro-cannabis cause. No one is going to get in trouble for using it, whether it was a pain to get it or not.

- As I mentioned in excruciating detail, I don't think marijuana is a problem. I think our attitudes about it (both for and against it) are.

- All that said, when I list out the concerns of my neighbors which have been shared, I land on being against marijuana storefronts

Those who are for them haven't presented what I see as a compelling argument. They fundamentally want convenience. The rest of it is anger and mob mentality that I just can't get behind. The data that they cite is data that I (and others) have already accepted, which is why we legalized it. It's all quite broken-record at this point, and has turned into yelling. In my mind, they already won; but they're as angry in victory as they were during the battle. Not a good thing, in my opinion. But still, we're a democracy. For good or for ill, 51% wins. I'm cool with it either way.

Those who are against them have presented what I do see as compelling arguments. They're not really necessary, the infrastructure costs aren't well known, the data points aren't there. The rest of it is also quite angry and fearful. I can't agree with fear and anger; but they've got more valid points than the pro-storefront side (in my view). But still, we're a democracy. For good or ill, 51% wins.

Bottom line for me is: the pro-storefront folks have made much progress and have won their major victories (cannabis is legal), but they're not stopping there, they're impatient, and they are bullying the others. I don't think that's cool. The anti-storefront folks, in my view, have been making more and more concessions for the benefits of marijuana and many seem willing to consider that it might not be as bad as they currently think. But they feel like they are bullied and they're standing up for themselves. I think that's both fitting and proper.

So yeah, if it came to a vote: Shall Mountain View allow cannabis retail business storefronts at this time? I'd vote no.

But if on that same ballot there were: Shall Mountain View allow cannabis fulfillment business at this time? I'd vote yes.

I'd address the concerns of those who need access to cannabis without giving assent to the yelling for a wholesale cultural shift that is tantamount to steamrollering over others while they've got momentum. Seems exploitative to me.


All of that said, there are lots of wonderful folks in this city. The fact that we don't agree on certain things doesn't make them any less wonderful.

But I wish we'd tone it down. Anger is far more toxic than marijuana in any of its uses, in my opinion.

26 people like this
Posted by No MJ store in Mountain View
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2019 at 3:04 pm

No MJ store in Mountain View is a registered user.

I have never seen more than 2 Asian speakers shown up to support cannabis outlets in any previous council meeting. All of sudden there were dozens of Asian speakers mostly from other cities standing there muttering one line or two in favor of the pot shops. The conversation I overheard raised a reasonable doubt that they were not aware what's going on and were there to fill the headcount. A pathetic strategy to use Asian to "battle" Asian speakers who are against the cannabis outlets and openly identified to be the "vocal minority" by Lenny. Now who is the racist here?

10 people like this
Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 8, 2019 at 3:55 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

It's pretty clear that by accusing Asian-Americans who disagree with you of somehow being the pawns of others, you're leaning on some quite racist tropes. On top of that, theorizing that there's some conspiracy involving the former Councilmembers strikes me as falling back into some really nasty anti-Semitic tropes as well. When will Vice Mayor Abe-Koga denounce these slurs?

26 people like this
Posted by John in MV
a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 10, 2019 at 3:10 pm

John in MV is a registered user.

Its unfortunate that this debate has deteriorated into name-calling and racist stereotypes. I have more basic questions. Can someone please explain the moral and ethical difference between a liquor store and a cannabis shop in Mtn View? Or a gun shop? Could it be that the cannabis opposition is supported by organized crime and other unsavory elements that prefer the illicit sales of marijuana to our children versus regulated sales to adults? And how would the cannabis stores affect property values more than, say, a massage parlor or a comic book store?

Most of the opposition to cannabis stores in MV seems to think along the lines of one message that claimed ""Reefer Madness" is a highly respected documentary put out by the US government."

This film from the 1930's has long been used as the standard for misunderstanding the effects of marijuana. According to Wikipedia, this "1936 American propaganda film revolving around the melodramatic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try marijuana—from a hit and run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations, and descent into madness due to marijuana addiction. The film was directed by Louis Gasnier and featured a cast of mainly little-known actors. Originally financed by a church group. ... Critics, however, have panned it as one of the worst films ever made"

Does this represent the depth of research and understanding of those opposed to cannabis in MV?

Like this comment
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 22, 2019 at 10:32 am

SRB is a registered user.

@MV Voice
"with a lottery scheduled March 27 to determine which four will move forward. City staff couldn't say for sure at the meeting whether the council needed to adopt an urgency ordinance to suspend the permitting process until the law is amended."

March 27 is next week. Has the lottery been suspended? If so, how was it decided and announced to public and applicants?

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

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

A new home in Redwood City for Mademoiselle Colette's croissants
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 8,615 views

Lights Out! Foods to Snuggle With in the Dark
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,900 views

Premarital and Couples: The "Right" Way to Eat an Artichoke
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,263 views

What did you learn last week?
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 722 views


Race Results Are In

Thank you for joining us at the 35th annual Moonlight Run & Walk! All proceeds benefit the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday fund, supporting local nonprofits serving children and families.

Click for Race Results