Milpitas Planning Commission Recommends City Council Move Forward on Commercial Cannabis Ban

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Last night, the Milpitas Planning Commission voted to adopt a resolution recommending that the City Council move forward on approving a Zoning Text Amendment that would ban commercial cannabis and regulate cannabis for personal use. 

Of nearly three dozen people who got up during Public Comment to speak on the potential ban of Cannabis, only 17% spoke in support of commercial cannabis. The other 83% came out firmly against cannabis, and in support of an ordinance to ban it.

“We just want a safe community for our next generation,” one woman said. Others echoed her sentiments, stating the need to protect children from pot shops, as well as to keep the reputation of Milpitas clean and exceptional.

Another woman, an Intensive Care Unit nurse, said, “I have seen a lot of people suffer from marijuana and it becomes very difficult to treat them.” 

Meanwhile, the few who came out to express their disappointment in the proposed ban were also very firm in their speech…

“Banning cannabis is bad public policy,” said 40-year Milpitas resident Ron Lind. He spoke of the need for commonsense regulations, and mentioned that a ban would be cruel to people with cancer, glaucoma, and other medical issues. He also mentioned that those who showed up at the November 20 Council meeting and moved the council members toward banning commercial cannabis were not representative of the majority of people living in Milpitas. 

The first reading of the ordinance is tentatively scheduled for the upcoming 12/19/18 council meeting, and the second reading tentatively scheduled for 1/15/19.

If adopted, the ordinance would take 30 days to go into effect, meaning the ban would officially start on 2/14 of next year.

Since the current moratorium on cannabis officially ends on 1/17/19, a few speakers expressed concern over the fact that the period between 1/17 and 2/14 would leave cannabis unregulated. Currently, the Milpitas City Council is considering the adoption of an urgency ordinance to cover the gap.   

In the end, Commissioners Evelyn Chua, Ray Maglalang, Lawrence Ciardella, and Chair Sudhir Mandal voted in favor of the resolution to recommend that the Council prohibit commercial cannabis. Commissioner Demetress Morris was the sole commissioner not to vote in favor, stating, “I didn’t vote for it because I don’t think everyone’s voice is being heard.” Morris spoke of the misinformation spreading in the community, and the need for a public vote, instead of one that falls under the purview of City Leadership. 

Before voting in favor, Chair Mandal said, “This is a small city. We want to make it better, not only for us, but for our children, and our next generation and beyond. And with this limited space and this odor we have coming from the landfill, it doesn’t make sense to me personally from my point of view to allow marijuana shops here.” 

Under the proposed ordinance, the outdoor cultivation of cannabis would also be prohibited, and indoor cultivation for personal use would be regulated; for example, up to 6 cannabis plants would be allowed for cultivation in a private residence or an accessory structure. 

If the ordinance is voted on next year, and if residents sign a petition to repeal it within the 30-day window before it officially goes into effect, it could possibly appear on the ballot for a vote. But that will only happen if proponents of commercial cannabis take the initiative to make it so.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works with nonprofit organizations to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also an author; her first book will be published by Llewellyn Worldwide in mid-2019. Her YouTube channel, which features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment, has amassed thousands of subscribers. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s founder.
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