Tuesday: Menlo Park to confirm ban on cultivation of medical marijuana


Confirming a ban on medical marijuana cultivation. Joining a group of cities to attain clean, renewable power. Considering the demolition of the former Roger Reynolds nursery, to be replaced with 24 residential units. Updating the city's policy on landscape water use. All of these are on the agenda for the Menlo Park City Council's first meeting of 2016, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the council chambers in the Civic Center (701 Laurel St.)

Banning medical marijuana cultivation.

Due to the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, as of March 1, 2016, cities that don't specifically prohibit or regulate the cultivation of medical marijuana have to codify their position on it, or else only the state will be able to regulate it. The resolution would confirm that cultivating medical marijuana is prohibited in the city.

Joining a group of cities to attain clean, renewable power. The city of Menlo Park is scheduled to do its first reading of an ordinance to join Peninsula Clean Energy, a joint powers authority that would leverage community demand to purchase more renewable energy at a price competitive with PG&E's electricity. It would authorize the city to promote city representatives to the board of Peninsula Clean Energy and direct those representatives to advocate for certain rates and kinds of power.

During the council's previous study session on the topic on Nov. 10, the council expressed enthusiasm for the program. Discussions about Peninsula Clean Energy focused on not if Menlo Park would join, but the percentage of clean energy the city would advocate for once on the board. Should the city push for 100 percent clean energy, with an expected added cost to households of $1.89 a month? Or should the new agency play it safe, and get a lower percent of clean energy without increasing costs, so the option would appeal to more people?

That debate has become even more complicated since PG&E increased by 95 percent its monthly fees for those who leave its services for clean energy programs. Those fees are now 2.32 cents per kilowatt hour, up from 1.16 centers, which adds up to a jump in monthly fees to $13 from $6.70 for the average household.

Considering the demolition of the Roger Reynolds Nursery to make way for 24 new residential units. After significant debate from the Menlo Park planning, environmental quality, and housing commissions on this development project, located at 133 Encinal Ave., the City Council now has to decide whether to approve a "below market rate" housing agreement that would create three below market rate units. The council is also asked to allow the removal of five heritage trees, review the designs, and ultimately approve the subdivision.

Updating the city's policy on landscape water use. Menlo Park's "Water Efficient Landscaping Ordinance" needs to be updated, based on state legislation that requires all cities and counties to adopt water-efficient landscaping laws that comply with new state standards.

The council is scheduled to do a first reading of the ordinance, which will extend the water-use restrictions for landscaping to more commercial and residential landscaping, including new landscaping 500 square feet or larger and "rehabilitated" landscaping of 1,000 square feet or larger. Three inches of mulch and compost will be required. Irrigation will be limited to an inch an hour, and swimming pools and spas will be required be covered and recirculate water.

For more information, see the council agenda or watch the meeting online.

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2 people like this
Posted by FreedomFighter
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Cannabis has been in use worldwide for over 5,000 years. We know what it does, we know what it is good for and we know the issues with using it. Cannabis at its very worst is much safer and less damaging to the user and society than the current legal alternatives.

Alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical drugs are directly responsible for KILLING over 650,000 US citizens annually plus another 21,000 TRAFFIC DEATHS from alcohol and pharmaceutical intoxication. Cannabis has never killed one person from toxic intoxication and has almost no statistical history of traffic problems. It is therefore, complete nonsense to apply laws and restrictions to cannabis more stringent than what are applied to booze, pills and cigarettes. It is also clear that prohibitionist laws against cannabis have nothing to do with relative consumer safety.

The most dangerous aspect of cannabis consumption is running afoul of lazy law enforcement looking for soft targets instead of fighting real crime.

Legalize, regulate and TAX NOW!

Like this comment
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 12, 2016 at 12:41 pm

I am sure that MP City Council will ban medical cannibis in a typical knee jerk reaction to the thinking that crime will follow. Mean while the city will do nothing about the homeless guys smoking weed on SC in the middle of the day.

1 person likes this
Posted by Ethan White House
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jan 12, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Ethan White House is a registered user.

Well it's evil, wicked, mean, and nasty
(Don't step on the grass, Sam)
And it will ruin our fair country
(Don't be such an ass, Sam)
-- Steppenwolf

2 people like this
Posted by Robert D.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 13, 2016 at 10:12 am

Robert D. is a registered user.

Ironically, I am not a supporter of the legalization of marijuana. That said, Colorado has laid it all out and I cannot find a reason not so support it: Thus the irony. I would say why not do it, get the revenue and the tax, help the schools and of course enforce the laws as Colorado does - seems like a win .... yes, I never thought I would say that.... apparently MP has not read up on the stats and the results of less crime, and more city revenue

Like this comment
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 13, 2016 at 10:28 am

The cannabis cultivation issue is mostly, as far as I can tell, an unintended consequence of a poorly written law. The ban is effectively a reservation of a future right to regulate.

As for the Roger Reynolds site - let's allow some development! There seems to be an unwritten rule that anything not in use has to be an eyesore for at least 10 years before the NIMBYs blink and something useful happens.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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