The San Ramon City Council is set to introduce a proposed ordinance Tuesday that would formally ban medical marijuana dispensaries from operating within the city limits.
"This prohibition of medical marijuana dispensaries stems from the community's health, safety and welfare concerns regarding the negative impacts and secondary effects associated with the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries within a city," deputy city attorney Alicia Poon wrote in her staff report to the council.
The five councilmen are asked Tuesday night to review the ordinance drafted by city staff, receive public feedback and decide whether to advance the new prohibition law for final approval later this month.
The ban on pot shops would be sweeping -- and include mobile delivery services -- and violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and be subject to civil penalties enforced through the city's administrative citation policies, Poon said.
A dispensary prohibition has received the support of San Ramon police chief Joe Gorton and the city's Policy Committee, a subcommittee that includes two city councilmen.
Potential negative impacts of pot shops include criminal activities associated with marijuana and all-cash operations, neighborhood disruptions, extraordinary demands placed on city law and policy enforcement, increased transient visitors, effects on youth and other sensitive resident groups from exposure to marijuana and "damage to the city's image as a whole," according to Poon.
San Ramon sits as one of three Contra Costa County cities that haven't established regulations specifically addressing medical marijuana dispensaries, Poon said. Hercules and Walnut Creek are the others.
No dispensary storefronts are operating in the city, but there are multiple mobile marijuana delivery services based in San Ramon, according to Poon. She said city officials searched the website WeedMaps on Aug. 31 and found seven mobile delivery services in San Ramon, and they then found nine such services listed when searching the same site on the following day.
San Ramon enacted a temporary moratorium on pot shops in 2010, but the moratorium lapsed without permanent rules being put in place.
City planning officials receive a few inquires per year from people about opening a dispensary, with the general response from staff being that prospective proprietors would need to apply for a zoning ordinance amendment, according to Poon. As it stands, someone could open a dispensary with approval from the Planning Commission and City Council.
City staff recommends the council introduce the proposed ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday night, and then open the public hearing, receive citizen input, deliberate the issue and if appropriate, schedule the final reading and adoption for Sept. 22.
The dispensary ordinance is the main item for Tuesday's council meeting, set to start at 7 p.m. inside the council chambers at San Ramon City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon.
In other business, the councilmen will hear a presentation on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission summer intern program, and they will receive updates on the new City Hall and City Center construction projects.