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East Palo Alto Extends Cannabis Bans For One Year

Photo: KQED

Like most of its neighboring cities, East Palo Alto has extended a ban on all cannabis-related businesses on the pretext that the city needs time to develop appropriate regulations with the provisions of California 2016 Proposition 64 coming into effect on January 1. Passing an “urgency” ordinance, which takes effect immediately, on Thursday November 9 the City Council voted 5-0 to ban the “manufacture, processing, laboratory testing, labeling, storing, retail, wholesale, distribution, and outdoor cultivation” of cannabis products for a period of 12 months.

Unlike in other cities, members of the public who have spoken at public meetings on the topic have been strongly supportive of extending the city’s cannabis bans.

“We are just concerned about our youth,” said One East Palo Alto Executive Director Faye McNair-Knox at the November 9 meeting. “We don’t want to encourage the increase the prevalence of substances in this community.”

“We have had a devastating history [with drugs] – meth, heroin, cocaine – with the lives of hundreds of families totally devastated,” said Rent Stabilization Board member William Webster.

Others spoke in favor of allowing cannabis businesses in East Palo Alto.

“There’s already drug dealing in East Palo Alto,” said resident Mark Dynan. “By not allowing marijuana stores we’re not stopping drug dealing or marijuana use.”

Assistant City Manager Sean Charpentier announced that a second study session on cannabis regulations would be scheduled for December. At the first study session on July 12, some council members expressed support for licensing cannabis dispensaries in the city.