Dear Mayor and City Council,
Tonight you will vote on a “permanent ban” on marijuana businesses in Milpitas. Are you going to vote yes or no? What is your reason for your vote?
If you are voting for this ban is it because you have seen evidence from San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, some other state, that having a regulated dispensary in the city brings more crime? Or other problems to the city? Is it because you think the city needs to hear from all the citizens in the way of an election? Will you be pushing for regulations and a tax measure to be put on the ballot at the next available election so the people can speak?
Or are you voting for the ban because a few very vocal people from the city took over a meeting to spread fear? Those people (say at most 500 out of 78,000 so about 1/10 of 1%) would not listen when the mayor twice told them not to applaud. They were booing speakers. They were yelling from their seats. They made others in attendance feel unsafe (yes I have personal knowledge of someone who was there and felt unsafe) They thought it was appropriate to call Councilwoman Grilli in the middle of the night and to threaten her and her business. And most of all they were saying things that are just not true. Let’s examine a few of the things they said.
1. There will be a cloud of smoke over the city. There are already people smoking in the city and there is no cloud. It is not legal to smoke outside. It is much more likely there would be a cloud of smoke from cigarettes than marijuana. Having a regulated dispensary in the city that we could tax beyond sales tax (I believe the extra tax in San Jose is 10%) would provide money for more police officers who could respond to the calls when there were people smoking in public (yes it already happens, I’ve seen it myself in my local park).
2. There would be marijuana (or more marijuana) in schools. There has been marijuana in schools since the 1960s. It might be harder for children to get marijuana if there were regulated businesses (who check ID) as opposed to the dealers who not provide them with marijuana. There could also be money for enhanced education about marijuana from the tax. If you look at the statistics from Colorado, the rate of marijuana smoking in children 18 and under has fallen since it became legal there.
3. There will suddenly be lots of people driving under the influence of marijuana in the city. There are already people driving under the influence in the city. With a tax we would have more money for more enforcement.
4. Marijuana will be kept out of the city with a ban. There is already marijuana here. There will continue to be people smoking and using edibles in the city whether we have regulated dispensaries and a tax, or whether people continue to buy in San Jose and give the tax money to them.
I know I will not change your mind about your vote with this letter. I just hope this makes you think about why you are voting the way you vote. I also hope you articulate your reasons for voting the way you do before you cast your vote. The citizens deserve to know your reasoning.