Commission relaxes cannabis ban

Cannabis plants are shown.

The Gilroy Planning Commission bucked the city staff’s recommendation and opened the door to possible recreational cannabis sales in Gilroy Thursday.

In a 5-1 vote, with Tom Fischer voting against it, the commission decided not to strengthen anti-marijuana laws before the state legalizes the herb Jan. 1.

“The people have voted,” said Commissioner Sue Rodriguez, in reference to the passage of Proposition 64 in November, which was supported by 56 percent of voters. “I would be more comfortable making this a ballot issue.”

Citing the potential of tax revenue, members of the Planning Commission, which is an advisory board, were unwilling to forego what many believed to be a financial windfall.

Planning Commission Vice Chair Rebeca Armendariz noted that a majority of Gilroyans voted for Proposition 64.

“It was approved by every single precinct in our city,” Armendariz said. “I think it makes much for sense to tax and regulate this rather than banning it. We can vote to move forward and not go backward to the days of Reefer Madness. I think it would be a much better idea for law enforcement to focus on opioids and methamphetamine.”

After some procedural wrangling, the council rejected a motion initiated by Planning Commission Chairperson Tom Fischer to pass the amendment with the caveat that the City Council take a closer examination of the law in the future.

Now the issue will be in the hands of the city council, which is scheduled to vote on the amendment at the regular Gilroy City Council meeting on Monday.


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