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Berkeley Sets Limit on Medical Marijuana Clubs
Belying its reputation as a city where anything goes, Berkeley decided to just say "no" to more medical marijuana clubs. The City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday to restrict the number of such clubs to the three currently in operation.
City sets limit on medical marijuana clubs
By Martin Snapp
Belying its reputation as a city where anything goes, Berkeley decided to just say "no" to more medical marijuana clubs.
The City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday to restrict the number of such clubs to the three currently in operation.
"We have quotas on barber shops, quotas on restaurants, quotas on everything under the sun," said Councilman Kriss Worthington. "Quotas are not a bad thing when they're used to protect the city and its people."
The council also voted to limit the number of clubs in one neighborhood.
"Every time you have something you don't like, you dump it in District 2 or District 3," said Councilwoman Margaret Breland. Districts 2 and 3 are on the south side of Berkeley, bordering Oakland.
Two factors prompted the lawmakers to act. One was Oakland's decision to restrict the number of its marijuana clubs, prompting fears of an exodus of clients to Berkeley.
"We don't want to be the supplier for the whole East Bay," said Councilman Gordon Wozniak.
The other factor was the recent shutdown of a fourth marijuana club, located on University Avenue, after a series of home invasion robberies in the immediate neighborhood.
"They were acting totally irresponsibly, taking out full page ads saying they could get prescriptions, no matter what," said Councilwoman Linda Maio. "They were attracting some pretty unsavory characters."
Council members fretted about the possible impact if Measure R, the medical marijuana initiative, passes in November. But City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque assured them there would be no conflict, as the measure would affect only the level of regulation, not the number of clubs.
Technically, the decision was only a sense-of-the-council resolution, directing city staff to come back with specific language at a later date.
But the lopsided vote left no doubt that it will be approved.