South Berkeley residents have waited too long for the city to resolve their concerns about a potentially illegal medical marijuana operation.
The allegations residents made against Perfect Plants Patients’ Group, also known as 3PG, are serious. Recently, the city has been looking into whether the facility, located on Sacramento Street, is within a legal distance from Longfellow Middle School. In addition, residents claim that other illicit activities are occurring nearby, such as alleged street sales and underage youth smoking marijuana. City officials must determine the validity of these assertions as soon as possible.
Yet local bureaucracy seems to be inhibiting a timely resolution. The Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board declared the business in violation of city code in September and then, earlier this month, recommended that the City Council terminate the business and investigate whether to declare it a public nuisance.
The local community has indicated that this has been a major concern to them for months, and it seems like action is moving too slowly.
Contention over the business’ operations stretches back far longer than the past few months, however. City staff first told the business in a letter last December that it was “dispensing medical marijuana in a non-residential zoning district,” which is illegal. The letter seems to be an attempt to address confusion over whether the establishment is operating as a collective or a dispensary — a distinction that comes with separate zoning regulations.
Now, the council has less than 60 days to conduct a hearing on the matter. It needs to use due diligence to determine whether claims voiced by local residents are accurate and then act accordingly. Residents need to feel that their city is listening to them.
It’s concerning that the issue has dragged on for nearly one year with few substantial results. The city must resolve the uncertainty and confusion surrounding Perfect Plants Patient’s Group.
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