When Proposition 64 passed on November 8, 2016, two of its provisions, among others, became state law immediately. One, adults over 21 years old could possess, consume, and cultivate non-medical, recreational marijuana in California. And two, the 600-foot buffer zone around schools in place since 2010 for medicinal marijuana dispensaries was granted to schools for adult use cannabis businesses. (Licensing of adult use cannabis businesses began in 2018.) Some people tend to focus only on recreational marijuana being legal to consume and produce, but these people overlook the fact that Prop. 64 at the same time provided the 600-foot buffer protection for schools and day care centers. The Mount Shasta City Council tried to reduce the buffer early in 2019. City voters rebuffed the Council’s shortened buffer ordinance with a successful referendum.

A false statement by the City Planner is being spread by the Dec. 25 Mount Shasta Herald headline article on the 1119 Ream Avenue lot split. “According to Lucchesi, the ‘I AM’ School wasn’t protected by a buffer until 2017 when the state changed regulations. Previously, established ‘sensitive use’ buffer zones only listed specific schools within the soft industrial zones, she explained.”

More concerning, the city shorted the buffer zone measurement at Sisson and the “I AM” School. Sometime probably in late 2017 the city planner imposed an arbitrary shortened method of measuring the school buffer zone, contrary to state constitutional and statutory provisions concerning school campuses. Rather than account for the full campus perimeter including playgrounds, the planner excluded large portions of Sisson and the “I AM” School campuses in the 600-foot measurement. For Sisson, this means the purported buffer zone extends only 130 feet from the playgrounds. For the “I AM” School, this means about half the building at 1119 Ream Avenue appears wrongly to be outside the purported buffer, when in truth, the whole building sits well inside the correctly measured buffer and thus ineligible for cannabis business operation. Maps available at keepcannabisawayfromkids.com

Officials from both schools approached the city planner and objected to this false measurement early in 2019, to no avail. The “I AM” School and Keep Cannabis Away from Kids Coalition opposed the 1119 Ream Avenue lot split proposal by the CEO of Jefferson Soul because the lawful 600-foot buffer measurement makes the whole building at 1119 Ream ineligible for cannabis operation.

The buffer is included in Prop. 64 for public safety. The KCAfK Coalition supports all schools and day care centers being protected by a 600-foot cannabis-industry free buffer zone. Prop. 64 passed in the City of Mount Shasta by 24 points, about 62% to 38%. The coalition contains city voters who voted for and against Prop. 64. All of us expect the city to follow the law, the whole law.