Michael Wyman 0

No New Dispensary

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Oakland Cannabis Institute LLC recently applied for permission to locate a new marijuana dispensary at 6405 Shattuck Avenue, near Shattuck and Alcatraz, and the City of Oakland is hearing this application on July 23, 2018. We wish to express our objection for the following five main reasons:

  • The proposed facility’s location is reasonably proximate to at least four schools. The proposed facility is located reasonably proximate to at least four schools. The proposed facility is located near the intersection of Alcatraz Avenue and Shattuck Avenue. Sankofa Academy, an elementary school, is located about 0.2 miles south of the proposed location. A second elementary school, Peralta Elementary, is located about 0.5 miles east of the proposed location. Escuela Bilangue, another elementary school and middle school is also located 0.5 miles away east on Alcatraz Avenue, approximately one and a half blocks east of the facility. Mi Mundo preschool is located on Alcatraz Avenue, about a half block away from where the facility is proposed to be located.
  • Potential to endanger the safety and welfare of children. These schools are reasonably proximate enough that it is reasonably foreseeable that students would be exposed to persons smoking marijuana outside or near to this dispensary. Second-hand smoke from marijuana has been shown to be detectable in young children exposed to second hand marijuana smoke. A recent study published in the journal Nature found that “these children are exposed to the psychoactive compounds in marijuana, and are potentially at risk for negative health effects.”[1] In addition, children and other residents could be exposed to the dangers of impaired driving. Local residents have observed customers purchasing marijuana products from another local dispensary on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, about [1/4 mile AWAY and then using such products in their cars. Governments and others have observed that marijuana can impair driving and is as dangerous as alcohol or moreso; National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuase found that “Marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability”.[2] Thus, it can be inferred that this represents a serious risk to pedestrians in the area and could increase injuries of pedestrians, including children
  • Potential for contribution to crime. The proposed facility’s location is on the same block as properties which have been subject to police raids and extensive police activity in the recent past, due to the presence or suspected presence of crime taking place on these properties. For example, a raid by a SWAT team took place in recent years on one of these properties. While not all dispensary customers are prone to crime, it has been shown that substance abuse (not limited to marijuana) and crime are often closely correlated. Thus, this dispensary would have the potential to increase an already challenging crime situation on this block.
  • Residential, Family-Based Character of the Neighborhood. This is a residential neighborhood. The surrounding zoning is primary RM-2 zoning. This facility does not fit in well with the character of the neighborhood and in fact has the potential to undermine the character of the neighborhood. Persons smoking in marijuana in cars can cause impairment, which risks harming children by hitting children.
  • There is already a dispensary located on Shattuck a mere five minute walk from the proposed location. There is already a Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkeley dispensary located at 3033 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, a mere 0.3 miles, five minute walk away from the proposed location. This dispensary should be adequate to service the market in this area. There is no public benefit or need associated with another dispensary in this area. Further, this community is already forced to bear the burden of persons smoking marijuana in cars nearby, and the risks of impaired driving associated with such activity. There is no reason to further intensify the burden on this community by opening another dispensary a mere 0.3 miles away from this existing one.

We request that the request to locate a dispensary in this location be denied and not be granted under any circumstances.Thank you for your consideration of this petition.

[1] Detecting biomarkers of secondhand marijuana smoke in young children, https://www.nature.com/articles/pr2016261.pdf.

[2] See NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse website, available at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/does-marijuana-use-affect-driving

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