Menlo Park holds off on allowing marijuana retailers

Daily Post Staff Writer
When retail marijuana becomes legal on Jan. 1, it won’t be in Menlo Park. City Council decided last night (Sept. 12) to wait a year or two before deciding whether to license marijuana stores or other businesses related to cannabis.

Council unanimously directed City Attorney Bill McClure to return in a month with an ordinance that bans commercial marijuana activity for a year. That will give city leaders time to see how other cities deal with marijuana retailing.

The passage of Proposition 64 last fall will result in the legalization of retail marijuana sales beginning on Jan. 1 unless a city passes an ordinance either banning such sales or regulating them.



Menlo Park now joins Burlingame, East Palo Alto and San Carlos in delaying for at least a year local regulations for pot shops and other marijuana-related businesses such as manufacturing, testing and distribution centers and nurseries.

Palo Alto and San Mateo have completely banned such businesses.

San Carlos has put a ban on pot shops but it is considering a plan to allow marijuana-related businesses such as manufacturing, testing and distribution centers and nurseries to set up shop.

Before deciding last night to postpone regulations, council members talked about where pot shops or other cannabis businesses could be allowed. State law says a marijuana-related business has to be at least 600 feet from school and day care centers.

Dumping pot shops in the Belle Haven?

Assistant Community Development Director Mark Muenzer presented a map to council showing buffer zones around those places. His report to council pointed out that the industrial area of Haven Avenue on the east side of Highway 101 could be a suitable location for marijuana cultivation.

But east side resident Matt Henry, a former planning commissioner, pointed out that the Sequoia Union High School District is building a high school at 150 Jefferson Drive, and Muenzer’s map didn’t show a buffer zone around that location.

Henry thought the omission was “under handed.”

“It says to me that they really just want to dump all the pot activity in my part of town,” Henry said.

Unintentional error, Keith says

But Mayor Kirsten Keith pointed out that the map wasn’t official and suggested Muenzer might be unfamiliar with the geography since he just moved here from Chicago. She said the omission was unintentional.

Keith said once the school and day care centers are added onto the map, there may not be a place where a pot shop or other marijuana related business could be allowed in the city.

City Attorney Bill McClure will return to council next month with an ordinance banning marijuana businesses for at least a year.