As Prop. 64 vote nears, Oakland embraces recreational pot

- Voters will decide next week whether to legalize recreational marijuana, under Proposition 64.

On Tuesday night, the City Council formally adopted a resolution by Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan in favor of Prop. 64, which would allow for local regulation and taxation.

Some cities like San Jose have passed emergency laws banning the commercial production and sale of recreational marijuana. The League of California Cities recently held a webinar about the proposition.

"The League of Cities has started a sort of hysterical Chicken Little 'sky is falling' unnecessary freak out," said James Anthony, an Oakland medical cannabis attorney..

Anthony and city officials say Oakland has no plans to restrict recreational pot.

"Soit's a complete overreaction on their part, cities such as San Jose," said Anthony. "But Oakland is a city that actually understands cannabis law at the state level."

Oakland already regulates medical marijuana dispensaries. Those that want to sell pot for recreational use would face similar permitting requirements.

Jeff Jones teaches cannabis classes at Oaksterdam University in downtown Oakland.

"The city of Oakland is doing nothing currently to regulate Prop. 64 in a ban or an outright not allowing for activity,because the regulations we already have, if you don't have a regulated permit, you cannot operate commercially," Jones said.

Sue Taylor hopes to open a marijuana dispensary benefiting senior citizens in Berkeley next year. She says cities scrambling to legislate pot now, are behind the curve.

"They're almost 20 years behind," Taylor said. "They knew cannabis was coming. Something should have been in place by now."

The California Police Chiefs Association opposes Prop. 64 and encourages cities to take a closer look.

"It is designed for profits, to make profit for the stakeholders behind Prop. 64 in the cannabis industry," said Jennifer Tejada, chair of the association's law and legislative committee. "Proposition 64 does not include concerns for public safety and public health."

 

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