City of Alameda to Overturn Cannabis Ban

The city of Alameda, which occupies Alameda Island and Bay Farm Island in the San Francisco Bay, may soon end its seven-year ban on medical cannabis dispensaries and commercial cannabis businesses. On July 5, the Alameda City Council voted 4-1 in favor of drafting an ordinance to overturn the city’s ban on cannabis businesses.

The city has banned medical cannabis dispensaries and cannabis cultivation since May 2010, but that could all change considering recent developments to overturn the ban.

The mayor of Alameda is on board with the plan to overturn the ban on cannabis businesses. “At this point, many of us are or know someone with serious health issues and they’re not able to purchase [medicinal cannabis] here, they have to go to Oakland or San Francisco to talk to someone in person and be able to purchase,” said Mayor Trish Spencer said at the July 5 meeting. The Alameda Island Cannabis Community joined the mayor in the city’s 4th of July parade as well as participating in recent city council meetings.

According to the city manager, plans are underway to release a survey to determine how local residents feel about cannabis businesses. Many local residents are concerned about keeping Alameda’s economy local and on the island. One possible regulation is to give preference to business owners who have lived on the island for at least three years. Zoning requirements would also be included to keep dispensaries 600 feet away from schools. Currently, residents merely have to cross the bridge into Oakland, and Harborside Health is one of the closest dispensaries to Alameda.

Other neighboring towns such as Pleasanton are going in a different direction. Pleasanton is moving forward with a ban on cannabis smoking in apartment buildings, and considering banning cannabis smoking in condos and townhouses. The city council asked their staff to complete a new draft ordinance by the council’s first meeting in September. Until then, Alameda cannabis consumers will continue to spend their money in other neighboring cities that allow commercial cannabis business.

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