HAYWARD — The question of setting a policy for medical marijuana dispensaries is coming up sooner rather than later, as city leaders are being asked this week to reconsider making it a priority for the coming year.
At a work session last month, a majority of the City Council wanted to include the matter in their annual objectives, adding it to a list of goals such as curbing crime and promoting a clean, positive image of Hayward.
City Manager Greg Jones said creating regulations that would allow cannabis clubs to set up shop is not in line with those goals.
"We commit a lot of resources to crime and public safety issues, and the council has been very clear those are priorities," he said. "In my professional opinion, setting a medical marijuana policy is contradictory."
The City Council will vote on priorities at its Tuesday meeting, and Jones is urging them to remove cannabis club policy from the list.
Previously, four of the seven council members wanted to address the issue, with Bill Quirk and Olden Henson being the strongest proponents. Both expressed confidence that with the right regulations and security, dispensaries could viably fit in to Hayward and provide a valuable service.
Council members Barbara Halliday and Francisco Zermeno said that it is something that constituents would like to see addressed, and agreed that it should be included as a priority.
Mayor Michael Sweeney was clearly against it, and said it would be difficult to site a club because neighborhoods will fight it tooth-and-nail. Councilwoman Anna May has come out strongly opposed, and urged school board members last week to weigh in. Councilman Kevin Dowling said he supported it a decade ago, but it caused too many problems and "doesn't work in this area."
Also on the agenda is a moratorium that would prevent dispensaries from opening until an official policy is drafted, and an update on the state of the city's budget.
The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 777 B St., Hayward.
Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473.