Bud in the ‘Burbs

In the East Bay, not all marijuana policy is created equal.

While purchasing cannabis is easy in Oakland and Berkeley, it’s harder the farther inland you go, with a number of communities tightening their laws as recreational marijuana looms.

But over in Pleasant Hill, where medical dispensaries have been banned since 2007, elected officials are starting to waver on the issue. As the Cannifornian reports, after nearly 65 percent of its citizens voted in favor of Proposition 64, the Pleasant Hill City Council has warmed up to the idea of weed sales — as long as they follow local regulations. Commercial cultivation is still off the table.

Should the city decide to embrace recreational cannabis, Pleasant Hill will buck the trend of other East Bay suburbs — such as Orinda, Concord, and San Ramon — turning their back on this new revenue source.

But councilmember Matt Rinn recognizes the economic opportunity. “We need to embrace this, too, as a city,” he said, according to the East Bay Times. “It’s a change, it’s a sign of the times of where we are.”

After discussing the matter at a quiet meeting in June — only two residents came to voice their opinions — the city council decided to turn to the community for input, posting a completely nonscientific survey to the town’s website. It received fewer than 250 responses; Pleasant Hill’s population is close to 35,000. Still, 63 percent of this tiny sample balked at recreational sales and cultivation.

At the very least, it looks like the city will amend the medical-dispensary ban (even though only 51 percent of its population supported doing so, according to that practically meaningless poll) and may allow for medical delivery as well. That’s progress, and there are surely current and prospective patients in the town’s limits who will be thrilled to make even these small gains.

Pleasant Hill’s planning commission will host a public input session on the issue on Aug. 29.


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