Council allows pot shops to open

New marijuana shops often look like Apple stores, with natural light, spacious displays and open floor plans. That’s the look of the Eco Cannabis store at 2435 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Redwood City will become the only community on Highway 101 between San Francisco and San Jose to allow marijuana stores. City Council last night approved a plan that would allow as many as six stores.

Council approved the plan over the objections of three residents who said they think allowing marijuana stores in neighborhood shopping plazas could decrease property values.

One resident, who only identified herself as Mauve, said that she is worried that people could just drive from a pot shop to a park in town and smoke the weed there.

Assistant City Manager Alex Khojikian and Police Chief Dan Mulholland pointed out that there are laws against public consumption of marijuana, and if someone sees that occurring, to call the police.

To apply to open a store, the applicant will have to submit various information to the city, including a safety plan. A panel of city employees will review the proposals and will interview what they consider to be the best applicants.

Up to six dispensaries will be allowed to open in town.

However, Mayor Diane Howard told Khojikian that it is OK if the city initially approves a couple of really good applicants and doesn’t go for six at once.

Councilwoman Janet Borgens said she was concerned marijuana stores tend to open in lower-income neighborhoods. She cited a study that drew that conclusion.

Potential locations

Shops could open downtown along most of El Camino Real, from Harrison Avenue to the city’s border with unincorporated North Fair Oaks, and from Arch Street to Avondale Avenue. They will also be allowed along Veteran’s Boulevard from Standish Street to the city’s border with San Carlos.

They could also go along Woodside Road from Union Cemetery to Safeway and between El Camino and the railroad from Northumberland Avenue and Diller Street.

Furthermore, shops could end up along Seaport Boulevard and a handful of other spots throughout town.

The city has a 4% gross receipts tax on cannabis retailers, which could prove to be a regular revenue stream for the city if the retail marijuana business gets going. The city can increase the tax up to 10%, but the city’s consultant, David McPherson, recommended that the city just leave it at 4% for now and then reassess how the businesses are doing once they are established.

If there are six businesses in the city, the tax would bring in $1.32 million a year, according to a previous report from Khojikian.

The vote was 6-0. Councilman Ian Bain recused himself because the ordinance would allow shops to open near his home.