Last night’s City Council meeting had only one issue on the agenda: cannabis regulations. After Mountain View voters overwhelmingly voted to legalize marijuana in 2016, Council gave direction for staff to develop regulations on marijuana sales and distribution in the City of Mountain View. The previous meetings on the subject had been oddly quiet, but the meeting last night was decidedly not. More than 50 people gave statements at the Council meeting. This article in the Palo Alto Daily sums up what happened pretty well.
I wanted to write and explain my position on this controversial issue. I supported regulations that promote safety in our community:
Product Safety: A safe product is tested by reputable labs, so people know what they are buying. Over the years the potency of black market cannabis has increased and it has sometimes been laced with dangerous chemicals. The State of California has set up a rigorous testing system to ensure a safe product for sale.
Childrens Safety: Everyone seems to agree that cannabis is not good for childrens brain development. At the marijuana dispensaries, IDs will be checked and verified at the door, so no one under 21 is allowed in the store.
Environmental Safety: Illegal cannabis cultivation is notoriously bad for the environmental. The legal cultivation practices will reduce the environmental impact. At Berkeley I was taught that marijuana was the biggest cash crop in California, so its environmental impact was huge.
Business Security: Since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, the dispensaries can’t utilize banks. This means many vendors deal with large quantities of cash which can make them a target for crime. We are requiring strict security measures that will be overseen by a special member of the Mountain View Police.
Legality: As marijuana is a Schedule I drug, marijuana distribution has been done via the black market. Making cannabis legal provides an alternative to the black market. If the legal market is available and affordable, it’s likely the black market will decline significantly.
There are many issues that intelligent people do not agree on, and this is one of them. During the 2-year process that went into making these regulations, many aspects of legalization were taken into consideration. Please let me know your concerns. Perhaps I can explain how it will be handled or you can make me aware of something we need to be on the lookout for as these new businesses move into our community.
At last nights meeting, we voted to allow up to 2 storefront retail cannabis businesses to open. Based on concerns of the local community, the Grant/Phyllis shopping center will not be one of those locations. Check out Attachments 8 and 9 to the staff report if you want to see the proposed map. Two non-storefront retail businesses will also be allowed which will be delivery-only services that won’t be open to the public.
Thanks for reading. See you out on the precinct walks!