In the next week marijuana will be in the faces of Mono County citizens whether they want a toke or not. On Wednesday, the Mammoth Lakes Planning Commission takes a look at three applications for medical marijuana cooperative use permits and on Nov. 2, the State of California will take up the issue of whether or not to legalize marijuana by allowing state residents to vote on Proposition 19.
Three potential co-ops have applied for the two available spots that Mammoth voters approved in June with Measure M. The three applicants are Steve Klassen with Green Mammoth, Robert Calvert with Mammoth Lakes Wellness, and Dagmar Zila with Range of Light Wellness. Not only do Mammoth Lakes Wellness and Range of Light Wellness share similar names, they also share similar proposed locations. Both are being proposed at 3399 Main Street, Mammoth Lakes Wellness at Suite Q1 and Range of Light at Suite S.
The close proximity of these locations will be at least one of the items the Planning Commissioners will have to address when evaluating the applications. According to the Measure M ordinance, up to two co-ops are allowed in town but they must be at least 500 feet apart. The two Wellness applicants would only be 30 feet apart if both were approved.
“If we liked both of the applications we could always approve one and then tell the other applicant to come back with a new location,” said Planning Commission Vice Chair Jay Deinken. Or the Commission could tell both of them to come back, there are a variety of ways the Commission can vote, he added.
An issue that is mentioned in the staff report but is unclear in Deinken’s opinion is whether or not ADA compliance is mandatory at the locations. If it is, Green Mammoth would have an issue as its proposed location is on Laurel Mountain Road on the second floor in the KMMT building, which is only accessible by stairs.
As for the public hearing’s relation to Prop 19, Deinken believes that if the proposition passes then co-ops would become obsolete.
“There would be no need for a permit for anything,” he said. “The co-ops could continue doing business just not under the same constraints they have now because they would be out the window.” Prop 19, in a nutshell, would allow individuals in California to carry one ounce of marijuana and to grow their own plants in 25 square foot segments.
Yet, Deinken does not believe that Mammoth should have waited for the outcome on Prop 19 before putting Measure M to the voters.
“The odds were against Prop 19 six months ago and it’s still no where near certain that it will get passed,” he explained, which is why the Planning Commission will move forward on Wednesday.
Deinken said that as of Monday, the Commission had not received any input from business owners that may end up next door to one of the co-ops if approved. Neither has it heard from any neighboring citizens.
“Maybe they will show up on Wednesday,” Deinken concluded.
The public hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 27 begins at 9 a.m. in Suite Z.