In California Town, Residents Resist Marijuana Stores

September 24, 2018 Updated: September 26, 2018

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—After learning the city council will hold a public hearing Oct. 2 to decide the locations and total number of pot stores to be allowed in the city, local residents in Mountain View, California, held a press conference Sep. 21 to express their opposition to the marijuana shops.

Participants held signs that read “No Pot Shop near School,” “Don’t legalize Drugs,” “No Marijuana in Mountain View,” “Spare Our Children from Drugs,” and so on.

The residents pointed to a planned pot store for Grant Park Plaza as an example of their concerns.

This shopping center is just a few blocks away from two elementary schools. The plaza’s parking lot has been used by school parents to park their cars since the schools are short on parking spaces.

One of the popular Asian food market chains, 99 Ranch, has a store located in this plaza, and the pot store is slated to open adjacent to the 99 Ranch market.

Tingting Zhang, a full-time stay-at-home mom with two children, ages 6 and 3, told The Epoch Times she was very worried thinking that her children would be growing up seeing adults go in and out of pot stores every day. She’s worried it may make her children think buying pot is no different than buying toys or fruits and vegetables, she said.

Zhang is also concerned about her children’s health in an environment exposed to secondhand pot smoking.

After the press conference, Zhang told The Epoch Times a Chinese proverb: “Don’t do a bad thing, even if it is a very small one.” Over time, as all the small bad things are added up together, Californians may one day find that it is very hard to change things back, she said.

Ivy Xu, a mother and a property owner in the city, said the location chosen by the city is very close to the schools and residential areas.

“Children come every day,” she said. Pot stores do not only sell drugs, but also sell other products, such as marijuana-infused green tea and gummy bears, which will confuse children, she said.

Xu was against the idea of recreational marijuana because she did not want to see her child exposed to drugs so easily.

Tootoo Thomson, a mother of three, and an afterschool art teacher in the city, said that “before we have concrete proof of the health benefits [of pot], we should protect our society from marijuana.”

Frank Lee, the Bay Area director of the California Coalition Against Drugs, said, “According to the FDA, marijuana is still a Schedule I prohibited drug, which has no medical value, is easily addictive, and will lead to heavier drugs.”

Lee said that he learned the city is considering opening five pot stores, which he considered far too many.

Lee said San Jose, the 10th-largest city in the United States, with a population of over 1 million, has 16 pot stores, while Mountain View has a population of less than 82,000.

In November 2016, California passed Proposition 64, which legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. As a result, more and more pot stores have been opening for business in the state.

At a council meeting in September 2017, Mountain View approved pot stores opening for business; the proposed Oct. 2 meeting will put that decision into effect.

The speakers at the press conference urged local residents to go to the upcoming hearing and make their voices heard.