This is part of a series of Q&As for Mayoral and City Council candidates for the November 2020 election. Questions were submitted by Milpitas residents.
Where do you stand on the issue of opening cannabis shops in Milpitas?
(For background on the Milpitas City Council’s decision this past May to reject placing a Cannabis Tax Measure on the November 2020 ballot, go here.)
Voltaire Montemayor: Cannabis is a higher degree in smoking, let’s say. I stopped smoking instantly when I was working with Hewlett Packard, mainly because of my total performance deficiencies or productivity output. “No” for a shop or dispensary, but maybe yes for plainly medicinal use; government arranged, official delivery from somewhere.
Rich Tran: Opposed.
City Council Candidates
Evelyn Chua: I oppose the openings of cannabis shops in our city. This also includes cannabis labs in our industrial and commercial areas.
Julian Nool Hilario Jr.: As a healthcare professional, I have witnessed the benefits of utilizing cannabis for patients suffering from chronic pain to having cancer. It is used to alleviate pain or manage nausea to increase appetite for cancer patients. Let us open a medical cannabis shop in Milpitas. A medical cannabis shop will help provide access to the people needing this medical drug when suffering from a specific illness. In return, it allows us to boost and diversify our economy.
Robert Marini: I believe this should be on a Milpitas ballot in future elections. I support cannabis for medical purposes.
Demetress Morris: The voters should always have the last say on any matter dealing with our community; that’s just democracy. The facts are we could use the additional revenue that it would bring into Milpitas’ general fund. According to The Marijuana Factbook, there is an estimate of a 3.5 economic multiplier from the contribution of the cannabis industry. Overall, California made $629 million dollars last year from legal marijuana tax revenue keeping in mind that cities can tax this substance at thirty percent of cost. The cannabis business is already here in Milpitas; we’re just not getting the revenue. It goes to San Jose instead, but it is being delivered through our streets and to our homes with no advantage to our city. Therefore, I feel first and foremost it should have been placed on the ballot. However, we could have outsourced or partnered with San Jose like Milpitas does with other community benefit businesses, and let them have the storefronts and receive the revenue for the products that are being delivered through our streets and to our homes. Yes, it would take some negotiations, but it would have been worth the effort.
Bob Nuñez: I am against opening cannabis shops in Milpitas.
Anthony Phan: I support a progressive cannabis policy that allows for various uses of cannabis including but not limited to retail and distribution, cultivation, delivery, research and development, and medicinal use. Such a policy should consider multiple factors such as proximity to sensitive receptors (schools, parks, residential neighborhoods), public safety, and traffic concerns into consideration. Ultimately, it has been documented by countless academic journals that cannabis has been proven to be more safe than alcohol and tobacco. There are so many myths about cannabis use that we should really take bold efforts to debunk. The best anti-drug policy is not prohibition, it’s education. With increased resources for anti-drug education programs, revenues from cannabis can go directly towards campaigns such as the DARE program and public safety resources to address more pressing concerns such as violent crimes and robberies. I will note that, however, I believe the people should decide whether or not a cannabis policy of any sort is appropriate for our Milpitas community. I will always respect the will of the voters.
Suraj Viswanathan: I am opposed to anything that will endanger our schoolchildren, increase crime in our neighborhoods, or make the job of our public safety agencies harder. I fear cannabis shops in Milpitas will have this effect.
Tiffany Vuong: I believe this should be the people’s decision. Personally, I believe the shops would be a good source of revenue for the city if we allow for them and pass a tax on the products. However, I understand that the issue is controversial and would like Milpitans to vote on it so that we may uphold democracy.