Policy, land use to be discussed at San Juan cannabis workshop

June 14 workshop will address policy questions and clarify that commercial sales, not personal use, is the focus of discussion

San Juan Bautista City Council members discussed the structure and content of their planned June 14 Cannabis Workshop at the May 16 meeting. While a location has not been announced, the workshop will take place from 6 to 9. p.m.

During the discussion, Councilman Dan DeVries, who suggested the workshop at the previous meeting, said in response to Councilman John Freeman's suggestion that the history of cannabis be discussed at the workshop, “I think those kinds of policy questions are appropriate for the city council or the board of supervisors to grapple with and try to understand because they can answer those things in a large-scale way or they can answer them kind of small, like being very limiting, ‘we only want to have this much to do with it ,etc.,so those are policy questions.”

"Land use, in my experience with planning, is assuming that its something that a community wants, where should it go?" DeVries continued. "The where should it go question, I think, is most appropriately addressed by a planning commission because the public commissioners can take public testimony about ‘it should go here, we don't like it here,’ all of those things, but those kinds of discussions are predicated upon first deciding the policy.”

Councilman Jim West said the commercial use of marijuana, rather than personal use, is the issue. “We’re only talking about commercial use within San Juan Bautista and I think a lot of people don’t realize that and a lot of people think San Juan Bautista is trying to take away their right and we are not doing that,” he said, citing confusion amongst residents about what the issues are. 

San Juan Bautista resident Joleen Cosio suggested including crime and law enforcement issues at the meeting during public comment.

Mandisa Snodey, a patient advocate and cannabis educator, will be given additional time to speak at the workshop after she presented the council with various issues she believes should be addressed. 

“There needs to be proper representation about specifically small-scale organic portion of the industry, not just the commercial large scale corporate model. I believe there should be discussion about the license types not only the Medical Cannabis Regulation Safety Act, which is Governor Brown’s initiative, but then also the Adult Use Act that was the voter initiative. We need to look at what licenses are going to be available in 2018 so that if you do decide that regulation is the way you want to go, if you decide that you do want to offer maybe one license or you want to open it for permitting, you need to know what local license types are going to match at the state level,” she said.

Monterey Bay Community Power Authority

In other business, city council members chose Freeman to be the city's representative to the Monterey Bay Community Power Authority. DeVries will serve as the alternate. 

The council approved an ordinance authorizing the implementation of a Community Choice Aggregation Program in March, formalizing the city's participation in Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP). The program allows communities to choose a clean energy source at a competitive rate to PG&E. Along with the city of Hollister, San Juan Bautista is the 11th shared seat on a governance committee compromised of 21 local government entities in San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. The shared seat will allow for one representative from both cities to represent the county for two years.

City Clerk Search

The search for San Juan Bautista city clerk continues after Connie Schobert submitted her resignation on March 26. Originally appointed as city clerk in November 2015 after the previous clerk resigned, Schobert also served as the library technician and webmaster for the Luck Library in San Juan Bautista. 

The council was hoping to appoint someone to the position at the meeting, but no applications or resumes were turned in. An ad hoc committee made up of DeVries and West will be in charge of finding applicants.  

The applicant must be a resident of San Juan Bautista. The city council has set a $100 monthly stipend for the position. The council expects to appoint someone to the position at May 26 meeting. 

Laura Romero

Laura Romero has been a reporter and handled marketing/social media for BenitoLink. She has covered education and city government. Formerly, she worked as an assistant account executive at Pembroke PR in San Francisco, where she assisted with press outreach, event coordination, and social media planning. With her PR skills, she has helped to implement social media strategies and develop online giving campaigns for BenitoLink. Laura continues to contribute to BenitoLink on a freelance basis.