Los Gatos bans cannabis, council votes to keep dispensaries out – The Mercury News

Cannabis dispensaries are not coming to Los Gatos anytime soon.

Los Gatos town council elected on Tuesday night to maintain the city’s ban on local dispensaries and not add questions related to the cannabis tax to November’s vote, after months of public comment and community outreach and with a city cannabis advisory. Worked.

The proposal was seen as a way to boost local tax revenue for Los Gatos amid rising costs, inflation and an estimated $10 million budget deficit over the next five years. However, city employees and law enforcement argued that the dispensary would add more administrative burden to the city and put pressure on an already weak police department.

“Since we are such a vulnerable police department, and even with the opportunity for cost recovery to oversee the regulatory program, it has other potential law enforcement costs that may not be substantially covered by all the new tax revenues that may This concerns us in particular,” said city manager Laurel Prevetti.

Police Chief Jamie Field said the department did a resource analysis of neighboring police departments with dispensaries, and found that their department did not have the staffing levels to accommodate dispensaries.

“In our county, unlike Monterey County and other places, we don’t have a countywide infrastructure of law enforcement support. We really would be on our own,” Prevetti said.

in response to Possible State Legislation To require all cities to allow cannabis delivery services, Staffa recommended that councils consider adding a ballot question to tax those marijuana sales in Los Gatos.

To add a question to November’s ballot, four out of five council members must vote in support. At Tuesday’s meeting, council members Matthew Hoods and Mary Badam opposed further exploration of ballot language.

“We have to consider that public safety is the top strategic priority for our city,” Badame said. “Even the ordinance, to put it up to the voters, worries me. We’ve already spent $50,000 on a tax advisor.”

Many residents strongly oppose commercial cannabis in Los Gatos and have spoken out against the proposal at nearly every council meeting this year, saying such businesses could put public safety at risk and give youth easy access to marijuana.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, public commentators were equally divided in favor and against bringing dispensaries into the city.

“Why can’t we work together and create a solution that allows people 21 and older to operate a legal business?” Los Gatos resident Donna McCurry said. “Take advantage of the private-public partnerships that can be formed to address concerns for our children, and work to relieve stress on police and city resources.”

Los Gatos resident Lisa Harris said local youth would face consequences if dispensaries were legalized in the city.

“If our city decides to allow cannabis then they are all going to be affected by it. Dispensaries provide greater access and normalize marijuana use. That’s not acceptable,” Harris said. “The city, I see, is so focused on money that no one has really stopped talking about what that means, what the social implications are, and what’s going to happen to our kids.” “

Ajay Kolluri, advisor to HDL companies, said there are security measures in place to prevent minors from buying cannabis, such as ID checking at the door, tracking and tracing all products and having security guards present.

“Studies show that the sale or purchase of underage, underage possession usually comes from family, friends or from illegal markets,” Kolluri said at a meeting on May 4. “So it’s a problem, but it’s primarily a problem of the illegal market.”

The city has strict local ordinances banning the sale of cannabis in the city, despite state legalization in 2016. When marijuana was legalized in California, 62% of Los Gatos residents voted in favor of the change, compared to 58% in Santa Clara County. residents and 57% across the state.

The city hired HDL companies earlier this year, and consultants estimated the dispensaries could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual tax revenue to the city.

The consultants said the two retail dispensaries, which generate about $4 million in sales annually, could bring anywhere from $410,000 to $570,000 in additional revenue to the city, depending on how much the city taxes the products. is, the advisers said,

Cities with nearby dispensaries, such as San Jose, collect all tax revenue from purchases, regardless of whether the customer resides in the city.

Los Gatos worked with ELC Consultants to conduct a scientific survey of a random sample of residents regarding commercial cannabis. The results showed that 58% of residents supported or strongly supported commercial cannabis in the city, while 36% strongly opposed or opposed it.

The survey also asked whether residents would allow commercial cannabis dispensaries in Los Gatos, and 59% strongly opposed such businesses while 34% were in support.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: