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June 20, 2021

Klauer to sit out cannabis decision

Official’s family member owns property with interest

Vice Mayor Karson Klauer will sit out on the medical cannabis dispensary decision expected next week because his family has a connection to a property with interest in the vote.

Council members are expected to hold a public hearing on Monday, June 26 to ratify two dispensaries, Higher Level of Care and Layla’s Landing, to move forward in the permit regulatory process.

The council previously adopted a process for issuing permits related to medical cannabis facilities. The application period lasted March 15 to April 17.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Klauer announced he’ll recuse himself from voting June 26 on the two potential dispensaries.

“I have not a direct conflict of interest, but an indirect, possible financial interest,” Klauer said during the meeting. “I don’t have any interest in the transaction that’s taking place.

“I’m not part of the transaction, but in the 1974 Political Reform Act it says that, ‘Public officials should perform duties in an impartial manner free from bias caused by financial interest of persons who have supported them.’”

In a Tuesday interview, Klauer explained a close family member owns a building next to one of the applicant sites.

“I have to recuse myself from anything within 300 feet of that site that my family member owns,” he said.

Klauer explained that a close family member is a beneficiary of a trust that owns the property at 807 Industrial Drive, within walking distance from the proposed Layla’s Landing dispensary at 817 Industrial Drive.

“Because the applications have identified specific sites now, you have to look at it a little differently,” Klauer said. “When you make decisions that treat all property owners the same way, it’s a general decision; the conflict of interest isn’t there. But when you go site specific, then I have a possible conflict of interest and a perceived, financial conflict of interest. I don’t own the building, but I’m close enough to the family member that it would seem like a conflict of interest.”

California voters passed Proposition 64 last November, which legalized recreational cannabis throughout the state. The law makes it legal for adults 21 and over to buy, possess, use, share and transport up to one ounce of cannabis. The state is expected to have framework in place and start issuing permits by January 2018.

Council members approved a local medical cannabis ordinance in December. After months of deliberations, council members decided to cap the dispensary limit to two facilities.

Nicholas Preciado
Addicted to coffee and politics.

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