By Robert Haugh
On Tuesday, the City Council extended the citywide cannabis ban until 2020.
It temporarily prohibits all commercial cannabis activity until June 2020 and “imposes reasonable restrictions on marijuana growth for personal use.”
The Council asked for a lot of info earlier this year, like:
a cost analysis,
potential impacts of a commercial cannabis program on staffing resources, and
other cities’ implementation and management of a commercial cannabis program
The staff needs more time to get the info together.
But what made the Council meeting really interesting was the testimony. Three Santa Clara residents asked for a permanent ban. They believe marijuana is harmful to young people who will become addicted. And dispensaries will have a negative impact on the city.
Then, Sean Kali-Rai, a lobbyist for the cannabis industry had a chance to speak. He’s also the president and co-founder of the Silicon Valley Cannabis Alliance.
He “thanked” the previous speakers “for making his case.” He then insulted them by saying they were speaking out of fear and didn’t know the facts. He then threatened the council by saying that an Assembly bill (AB 1356) will force us to have 12 dispensaries in Santa Clara if the Council doesn’t take action.
But Kali-Rai got spanked by the Council.
Vice Mayor Patty Mahan said “I kind of resent you mischaracterizing those previous speakers.”
Councilwoman Karen Hardy said “having (AB) 1356 thrown at us sounds more like a threat, which I don’t appreciate.”
Councilwoman Debi Davis said Kali-Rai was misrepresenting AB 1356. It won’t impose dispensaries on cities who have a temporary moratorium. She said to the audience, “you were not told that by the last speaker (Kali-Rai). I don’t even know why he does it.”
Mayor Lisa Gillmor stood up for the Santa Clara residents. She said, “I just want people to come here and safely say what they want to say to us.”
The Council also discussed all the issues that they are struggling with and evaluating. Then they voted unanimously to extend the ban.
If you want to watch the discussion and the spanking it starts at 3:06:30 with the residents. Kali-Rai speaks at 3:13:22. The Council speaks at 3:15:30.