Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Commercial Pot Grows Banned in Capitola

blog potThe Capitola City Council unanimously passes a ban on commercial cultivation of medical marijuana  

Capitola is not big a place—the city covers less than 2 square miles and is home to fewer than 10,000 people living in very close proximity to each other. This was the bottom line when the Capitola City Council unanimously passed an “Urgency Ordinance” banning the commercial cultivation of medical marijuana on Thursday evening, Jan. 9. 

“We've struggled here trying to find locations for dog parks and skate parks without getting public opposition, and this is just another instance that falls into that realm,” said Councilmember Ed Bottorff. “It's just too small of an industrial area.” 

Councilmember Dennis Norton went on to say, “This city is not in a position to be a pioneer in this field. As the evolution of this industry comes around and we feel more secure, it will maybe happen in the future. But at this time, we're not ready to take on something of this magnitude.” 

Because of its status as an Urgency Ordinance, the decision required at least four-fifths of the councils' vote and went into effect immediately. Marijuana prescription carriers, as well as their primary caregivers, will still be able to grow up to 50-square-foot gardens, exclusively indoor, within city limits—just half of the space that the state law allows for personal medical gardens.

The issue was called to vote following a permit application submitted on Dec. 16 by a Capitola resident who wanted to develop a warehouse in the city's Industrial Park zoning district along Kennedy Lane for the purpose of commercial marijuana cultivation and processing. The city deemed the proposal a potential public nuisance, particularly due to the warehouse's proximity to a mobile home park called Cabrillo Home Estates, which hosts more than 60 families.

One resident of the mobile home park addressed the council, asking them to not only pass the ordinance, but to also shut down the medical marijuana testing lab, Santa Cruz Labs, that shares the lot with the warehouse in question. 

“Get that lab out of there,” he said. “It brings the element [of marijuana] to the kids.”

A small showing of community members attended to voice their opinions on the matter. One man from Gilroy, named Ron Kirkish, came to the meeting to support a vote on the ban. At the podium, Kirkish reflected on local murders from recent years and associated them with fiendish drug addicts and a countywide tolerance for their behavior. 

Capitola resident Bryan Nicholas, who has a medical marijuana prescription, was the only person to challenge the ordinance. 

“The opposition”—referring to Kirkish—“was comparing mental health issues with medical marijuana and I don't think that's accurate at all,” he tells Good Times

He says the ban hinders local commerce for an industry that has been voted on and legalized by the state, reduces job opportunities, and could be problematic for patients who can't transport themselves easily to other parts of the county.

“It's not fair to them,” he says. 

He also believes the people involved in the medical marijuana industry, on the whole, have the community's best interests in mind and that Santa Cruz Labs is providing an important service by making sure medical marijuana is safe for use. 

Violators of Capitola's new ordinance will face misdemeanor charges, six months in jail, and fines of $1,000 per day while out of compliance. 

“I'm a supporter [of medical marijuana] because it's the law, because of the Compassionate Care Act,” says Capitola Mayor Sam Storey. “[But] this [law] preserves individuals' ability to grow for their own use here.”

Councilmember Michael Termini sounded conflicted over his own views on medical marijuana, which he believes is an important medical resource for sick people, but he firmly supported the decision to ban commercial cultivation in the city. 

“This is a huge subject, and we could sit up here and pontificate all night,” he said. “I have a strong personal bias [for] legal, medical marijuana—I think it's important; I think it's significant, and ... I've seen the beneficial results of it. And this is a place where councilmembers really test their mettle because we're not here to impose our personal views on the whole City of Capitola. We're here to shepherd our city. We're here to be considerate and careful. And I do not want to demonize marijuana to a point where the lab is part of this, because it shouldn't be. But I'm going to vote in favor of this ordinance because I believe it's the wrong place and we are just too small of a community. And there are places very close to us where dispensaries and medical marijuana grows can take place, so it's not like we're depriving the community of anything. We just don't have the open space to let this happen effectively without affecting neighbors.” 


Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Craig Canada, January 10, 2014

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Making a Scene

As it celebrates its 30th year, Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios is one of the most successful in the country—and a make-or-break event for many local artists


A Ritual & Initiation

The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Film, Times & Events: Week of October 2

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Extra Pop

Assembly’s pop-up space goes into regular rotation, Cabrillo wine dinner, and a visit to Mozaic


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist


Downhill Cellars

An easy-drinking Chardonnay from Downhill Cellars


If whales have a message for humans, what might it be?

“Do not come in the water and join us.” Howard Hall, Santa Cruz, Retired