Driving windows for buying cannabis in Manteca will likely not be allowed once marijuana dispensaries become legal.
A representative of marijuana retailers presented the possibility of having drive-through windows saying that they would be an effective marketing tool for the Manteca dispensary located near Interstate 99. He noted that the curbside service for online orders was effective and without a problem at a number of dispensaries when the rules of pandemic closure were strict .
The proposal was made during a city council workshop Wednesday on the ordinance that would allow marijuana dispensaries and possibly other cannabis-related businesses to open in Manteca as early as 2022.
The proposal was based on the premise that it would be a marketing tool to attract customers from a larger area so that buyers would not have to get out of their cars.
Several council members quickly rejected the idea.
“We don’t want to create another (Chick-fil-A),” said Manteka Mayor Ben Kanto, referring to the fast-food restaurant that often connects with traffic through the traffic lane to Yosemite Avenue and up the adjacent Highway 99 south of the ramp.
The council was open to a proposal to allow dispensaries in mixed commercial use areas that allow apartments and similar residences after it was noted that the allotment covered most of Yosemite and Main Street lanes. As such, it would exclude almost all potential locations to open dispensaries in existing buildings in Manteca.
Council member Charlie Halford noted that the city could allow such use in the CMU area but would require a conditional use permit. This will allow the city to judge the application and location on a case-by-case basis.
Halford, noting that “the devil is in the details,” said he wanted to make sure the ordinance the city’s craftsmen are taking touches on all potential issues including signage.
Halford said the last thing Mantica needed was to have a dispensary with giant 40-foot marijuana leaves.
Councilman Gary Singh studied a similar debilitating case saying he didn’t want to see bars on windows as a security measure. He prefers to order other ways to secure the buildings that will have 24-7 armed security including special glass which is very hard to break.
Councilman Dave Brettenbucher made it clear that he was still not supportive of dispensaries but wanted to make sure the law had a minimum distance requirement of 600 feet from not only schools and children’s day care centers as well as youth facilities such as the Boys and Girls Club as the state required by default for local agencies that don’t set their own rules But also gardens and religious facilities.
All council members preferred to request the most effective security measures including high definition security cameras with live broadcasts of the police department.
City Manager Tony Wells noted that based on police calls in Serres allowing dispensaries in 2018 when he worked as the best municipal bureaucrat in that community, crime is close to a problem in dispensaries.
He noted a dispensary that had fewer calls to the police service “than you can count” during the year while a Walmart a quarter mile away had roughly the number of calls on any given day.
A workshop for the Planning Committee on the decree will be held on Thursday, November 4, at 7 pm. Two weeks later, the committee will make a recommendation on the decree, which will be presented to the Council on December 7.
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