Viewing medical marijuana as a potential threat to Palo Alto, three council members will ask their colleagues to pass a resolution Monday opposing a November ballot measure that would permit three dispensaries to open in the city.
Mayor Yiaway Yeh, Vice Mayor Greg Scharff and Council Member Larry Klein outlined their case in a memo this week. They pointed to San Jose, where 77 complaints were lodged during the 18 months that medical marijuana dispensaries were allowed to operate in the city.
Meanwhile, most Peninsula cities, including Mountain View and Redwood City, have moved to ban pot clubs amid legal uncertainty over a state law and act exempting patients and caregivers from being prosecuted for possessing or cultivating marijuana for medical use.
"We should not make Palo Alto the center of the Peninsula for this commercial activity with demonstrated negative impacts as other cities move to ban pot dispensaries," the council members wrote in the memo. "The presence of marijuana dispensaries can lead to negative 'secondary effects' on our neighborhoods, such as illicit drug sales, loitering, and even criminal activity."
If passed by a majority of voters on Nov. 6, Measure C would pave the way for as many as three medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in Palo Alto. They couldn't be located within 150 feet of any residential zone, 600 feet of any public or private school, or 500 feet of any library, park, licensed day care
A tax of 4 cents per dollar would also be imposed on the gross receipts of all medical marijuana dispensaries.
The two residents behind Measure C, Thomas and Cassandra Moore, maintain it will actually make Palo Alto a better place to live. In a ballot measure argument, they pointed out that voters in the city passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, by a 3-to-1 margin.
"As longtime residents of Palo Alto, we believe in the character of our community," the Moores wrote. "This measure will strengthen that character by providing medicine to our terminally ill neighbors, generating revenue for city services, and protecting our neighborhoods."
But the three council members rejected any premise that marijuana has beneficial medical properties in their memo.
"The treatment of marijuana as 'medicine' sends an unwarranted message to young people and others that consuming marijuana is a benign activity or even beneficial to health," they wrote.
The Moores acknowledge there are limits to what marijuana can do.
"Marijuana is not a cure," they wrote in their ballot argument. "But often it is the only way to get relief."
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The Palo Alto City Council will be asked to support a resolution opposing a November ballot measure that would permit up to three medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city.
WHEN: Monday, at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Council Chambers, City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.