Off The Pot

One property that has been identified as a possible dispensary location is the former Pier 1 store. If a petition collects enough signatures, it will block the city’s cannabis ordinance from taking effect.

Pacific Grove was on its way to bringing one cannabis dispensary to town after a City Council majority voted 4-3 twice – on Sept. 2 and Sept. 16 – in favor of an ordinance allowing cannabis retail sales. The plan was to have a proposal by a dispensary company before the P.G. Planning Commission by Nov. 12. That is, until opponents of the ordinance got behind their own plan: a referendum to overturn it.

Resident Debby Beck hired a Los Angeles lawyer experienced in state laws surrounding referendums who guided her through the steps of putting the city on notice and creating a petition. She’ll need approximately 1,100 signatures within 30 days to stop the ordinance from going into effect. The City Council could overturn it itself or the matter would go to the voters. 

“I feel very confident I’ll have the 1,100 signatures,” Beck says. She believes she’ll have enough signatures within two weeks. 

While some opponents took a moral stance against allowing cannabis sales, Beck is taking an analytical approach. She says the council had little to go on in terms of a cost analysis and what it would actually cost the city in extra police and other staff members, among other issues. “It felt so rushed to me and that’s a concern,” she says.

Although 69 percent of registered voters in P.G. voted in favor of Proposition 64 in 2016, legalizing recreational cannabis for adults 21 and up, Beck believes that doesn’t mean those same voters support a dispensary within the city.

UPDATE: At the time Beck spoke to the Weekly, the estimated number needed was 1,100 signatures. The actual number turned out to be 1,045. It later rose to 1,069 as more people registered to vote before the General Election.

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(1) comment

Sinbad Sailor

I tip my hat to Debby Beck for stepping up to the plate on behalf of PG residents and PG Unified School Division Trustees and Principals whose expressed concerns [ approx. 40 "no" vs 4 "yes" call-ins at 2 readings of the pot shop ordinance] were ignored by 4 PG City Councillors, 2 of whom are not seeking re-election.

The real reason why City Council and the City Manager want to push through the changed pot shop ordinance without Pagrovians voting is because they know full well what the election outcome would be - i.e. a resounding "no!" Though the City of PG would be profiting off retail marijuana sales taxes, the new PG ordinance purposely avoids the word "tax" because it would trigger an election. How deceitful.

This questionable pot shop ordinance, changed by Council fiat, is another example, like the Short Term Rental disaster, of PG City Council and the City Manager looking out for the best interests of City Hall employees instead of the best interests of America's Last Home Town and Pagrovian residents as a whole.

Mismanagement of PG's finances is par for the course for PG City Council. PG's financial picture has gotten worse s a result of the Cov-19 mandated shut downs. But instead of reducing spending like other responsible city and state leaders are doing - eg. Long Beach is furloughing city employees 1 day every other Friday for 1 year; Governor Newsom has negotiated what amounts to a 10% salary reduction and no raises for 1 year with state gov't employees- PG City Councillors have decided to chase after sales tax revenues generated by a detrimental business enterprise.

Pagrovians should not only sign Debby Becks' petition. Pagrovians should also vote for 3 NEW City Councillors on Nov.03 because America's Last Home Town is in dire need of ethical, principled, and respectful elected officials.

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