Milpitas Extends Pot Club Ban

September 07, 2005

Talk of the Town, Milpitas Post

Milpitas City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to extend an urgency ordinance moratorium to delay establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in Milpitas.

City council's vote was a 22-month, 15-day extension to council's August decision to adopt a similar 45-day moratorium on such businesses. Steve Mattas, Milpitas city attorney, said the latest extension will allow the city time to craft an ordinance to regulate pot clubs.

"It would allow maximum time to bring back an appropriate ordinance," Mattas added.

At the Sept. 6 meeting, most council members made their feelings known about preventing marijuana clinics from settling in Milpitas. Council members agreed establishment of medical marijuana clinics here would likely increase crime and threaten residents' welfare and safety.

"These facilities are becoming more and more troublesome. They're bad ideas. They are a drain on city resources wherever they go," Councilman Bob Livengood said.

Mayor Jose Esteves agreed. "Milpitas is a family-oriented city," he said. "We cannot expose our kids to this."

At a previous council meeting, the mayor cited social ills like "increased street dealing," intoxicated drivers and "impacts to neighboring businesses" that would likely occur if medical marijuana clubs materialized here. Esteves had also suggested the city's diminished police services would not handle any increase in crime.

But Councilwoman Althea Polanski said she felt the city's planning division could better regulate establishment of marijuana clubs through the normal process of review, as it does for all prospective businesses looking to locate in the city.

On June 7, council members voted 4-1 to bring back the ordinance for further review for approval. Councilwoman Polanski dissented at that time as well. The council's vote in June coincided with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling the same week to allow the federal government the right to prosecute people in violation of federal drug laws, including those people who smoke prescription marijuana.

The medical use of marijuana in the state of California the first of seven (sic) U.S. states to allow its use for medicinal purposes follows the overwhelming passage by California voters of Proposition 215, titled the "Compassionate Use Act of 1996."

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