Putting an issue to rest that has taken two years to resolve, the City Council today decided to move forward and place a permanent ban on pot clubs in San Bruno.
The city’s moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, first established in October 2009, then extended for 22 months and 15 days shortly afterward, would have expired on Sept. 25.
Taking direction from both the city attorney and police chief - who warned of negative side effects and a possible impact on the police department while officers respond to criminal marijuana activity - the council unanimously decided follow through with the recommendation to prohibit any pot clubs from opening up in the city.
“It’s time that we make a statement,” Councilman Ken Ibarra said. “I’m in favor of an all-out ban on these types of establishments. I’ve heard enough about secondary issues. They’re too much of a risk, and we’ve got more important things to take care of in this town.”
A voice that wasn’t heard during the debate was from patients who use medicinal marijuana. Councilman Rico Medina said he talked to a few people who use medical marijuana, one for insomnia and another who said he needs it after being involved in a car crash. Both of those people were younger than 21, he said.
He said he was in favor of the ban, but added that he didn’t think the city had enough facts about the issue to see what the real impact of pot clubs would have been.
Despite the ban, those residents who use medical marijuana won’t be reprimanded because of Prop. 215, City Attorney Marc Zafferano said.
In other action, the council voted to move forward with the first phase of the plan, which would create one consolidated agency including the fire departments in San Bruno, Millbrae, Burlingame and Hillsborough.
As soon as Oct. 1, changes in administration and personnel will begin taking place to test out the pilot program.
If the first phase of the merger proves successful, then the cities could decide to move forward with a full consolidation by May 2013.
Labor issues still have to be worked out, but council members said the decision will be the most efficient for all cities involved.
“It just makes sense,” Mayor Jim Ruane said. “What doesn’t make sense is 20 little cities with 20 different fire chiefs. But San Bruno realized what (utilizing) mutual aid and getting together shows.”
The Burlingame council has already given their support to the merger. Millbrae is expected to discussing the issue tonight. Hillsborough will consider the merger at an August meeting.