Mammoth’s marijuana dispensaries plead with Council to end retail moratorium
“Can I give away free weed?” asked Steve Klassen at Mammoth’s Town Council meeting on Wednesday, January 17, during a discussion about cannabis regulations that evolved into a plea from local dispensaries to allow the sale of commercial cannabis.
“Because if [consumers] can’t go and get it someplace in town, I think I probably should.”
Klassen, who owns the Mammoth snowboard shop Wave Rave, said that “since Christmas, we’ve been asked hundreds of times where people can get cannabis,” in town.
Recreational use of cannabis for adults over 21 became legal statewide on January 1 (following the passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016), but the Town of Mammoth Lakes still has a moratorium on its commercial sale which is scheduled to remain in effect until September 6 of this year. Currently, the only way to get legal cannabis in Mammoth is to visit one of two medical marijuana dispensaries, Green Mammoth (owned by Don Wright) or Mammoth Lakes Wellness (owned by Robert Calvert).
But consumers must hold a medical recommendation card to be able to purchase marijuana. “I turned away a kid in a wheelchair who was 21,” without a medical card, Wright told The Sheet after the agenda item came up on Wednesday. “He was being carried up the stairs by a 20-year-old with a medical card,” to whom Wright could not sell marijuana, due to his age. Potential consumers can visit a website such as www.hellomd.com to get an expedited medical recommendation, but Wright said he is not legally permitted to tell customers about those services.
Wednesday’s agenda item was intended to address “buffer zones” for commercial cannabis sales in Mammoth. Members of Town Council agreed that they would like to see 600-foot buffer zones between schools, youth centers, parks and day cares, and 500-foot buffer zones in between commercial cannabis businesses. However, the discussion ultimately turned into a heated back-and-forth about how quickly commercial cannabis sales in Mammoth could become a reality.
“The way we have mishandled this, we have driven the black market in Mammoth,” said Council Member Bill Sauser.