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December 9, 2023

Community Board: No reason to rush on pot ordinance

Hollister City Council members considering a proposed medicinal marijuana ordinance should keep in mind that there is no rush to make a final decision. More important, local voters will offer a collective take on recreational pot in November that should ease any political tensions about where the general public stands.

That said, the council still has work to do on the medicinal marijuana ordinance, which is meant as a transition to regulations under a possible legalization of recreational pot. For instance, the city should look at stricter geographic restrictions as they relate to the downtown district, where officials should ban dispensaries. They should also extend the allowable distance, currently 600 feet, from schools. Overall, council members must listen to all concerns, from both sides, and do their best to address each and every one to make sure the ordinance best fits this community’s needs.

There’s plenty of time to listen, too, because the city’s state-mandated deadline to finalize local rules is Jan. 1. That’s after the November election when voters are set to consider Prop. 64 in November that could legalize recreational marijuana throughout the state.

Local results from that proposition won’t necessarily give the city officials a final answer on how to address local dispensary regulations. But it will offer a present-day glimpse to the council on where the public stands, 20 years after 57.9 percent of San Benito County voters supported legalization of medicinal marijuana, and should allow them to avoid emotion-laced reasoning.

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