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Palo Alto moves to extend ban on outdoor pot growth

Original post made on Jun 15, 2017

Outdoor cultivation of cannabis will remain illegal in Palo Alto for at least another year-and-a-half under a proposal that a City Council committee approved Tuesday night.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 4:00 PM

Comments (44)

61 people like this
Posted by Outdoor is better
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2017 at 10:33 am

If everyone grew pot indoors, we end up using a lot more electricity. It's environmentally more responsible to grow outdoors.


5 people like this
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 15, 2017 at 10:53 am

Story is a unclear. Is the ban for personal or commercial outdoor grows?


43 people like this
Posted by Think of the Children
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 15, 2017 at 11:12 am

Shame on the city for sacrificing $$$ millions in sales tax revenues from legal marijuana while they cut school aides, increase class size, shove more hotels into our already congested roads and dream up other new taxes!

Marijuana -- recreational and medical -- is a multi-billion dollar business yet PA has rushed to forego that money while running deficits and pleading poverty. Ludicrous.

WHY is the city playing "mother" to consenting adults? Why are they barring us from growing a few plants outside in our own back yards? To generate more $$$ for PA Utilities?

Evidently they'd rather that nearby cities like San Carlos get our sales tax revenue and that we help them fund school clerks etc. Remember that the next time the city asks us for more money

Marijuana -- recreational and medical -- is a multi-billion dollar business. Remember that the next time PA asks for a tax increase while


41 people like this
Posted by Jeffrey
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2017 at 11:41 am

This decision discriminates against people who cannot afford grow lights and the electricity to run them, but can afford to utilize the sun.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 15, 2017 at 11:49 am

So glad that you all brought this topic up. Large article in the SFC regarding ex-President Fox of Mexico making the rounds at the Commonwealth Club, SU, Cannabis Industry Association extolling the virtues of pot and telling everyone that Mexico and Canada will be the major pot growers and to facilitate this there should be no border control. And NAFTA needs to be updated to include pot sales. Note the problems here:
1. The US pot growers are trying to establish their markets
2. The US is trying to come up with the correct set of rules to regulate the industry.

So from where I an sitting this is the worst nightmare - some other country saying they will take over - or undercut our US growers who are trying to establish them selves. And the foreign country is attempting to dictate how the US functions internally regarding commercial products.
Mr. Fox is termed out. Gov. Jerry is going to be termed out. They seem to be looking for some role to play - but the political party in power in Mexico is being challenged due to many factors that the citizens are not happy with.
So is he hanging out in CA because he can't go home again?
I am personally not in favor of pot - look at Oregon - they are a plantation state. I think we should be growing food.


24 people like this
Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Okay, resident, I'm looking at Oregon......right now. A plantation state? Give me a break. In fact, what, exactly do you mean by that? Most grows are in big greenhouses. Can't see them, smell them or be intimidated by them. It's not as if pot growing has become rampant here. BUT, we can grow it outside, if we so choose.

When I worked for CPA in the 70's, 80's, 90's, there were plenty of outdoor grows. Small plantations? Boy, Palo Alto sure has changed!


37 people like this
Posted by Summer of Love? Not in PA!
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Steve Jobs and all of the creative fun-loving pot-smoking techies who made SV great would be aghast at how Palo Alto has become a nanny state that denies us our legal rights and that denies the community the tax revenues.

Check the billboard on 101 for a San Jose marijuana dispensary. Check all the Summer of Love art exhibits and concerts. People in PA aren't going to stop consuming marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes; the money and the fun will just go elsewhere.


4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 15, 2017 at 5:08 pm

If you want to look at Oregon check them out on Wikipedia. They are an agriculture base state that produces cheese (Tillamook), wine, and hemp. They are the home base for Nike but Nike produces their shoes in Asia. They have some technology but not a big event for them. If you have spent any time in Oregon - which I have with relatives there - you will see that it is a lovely state due to the amount of green - but a lot of their lumber has been farmed out.
Any article concerning Oregon reports on their support for Illegal labor for farming, sorting, and "taking care of them". They do not have a state income tax - they use property tax to support their schools. And the more non-profits that exist percentage wise do not help the economy.
I think the point of this discussion is not how much fun you are having - but what the effect is on the city financially. And we should be thinking county and state. When you legalize pot you then create the requirement for an agency which costs more than the income from pot. Money coming in - money going out. Money coming in is the taxpaying citizens who could care less about pot.


38 people like this
Posted by Ellen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm

But why???

"... a way to retain local control". ???

" ... if the city does nothing, "commercial marijuana businesses can open and get a state-issued permit" starting Jan. 1."

You are banning me, an adult homeowner who pays taxes, from growing a few plants in my backyard. Seriously?? That's just stupid.


11 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Good for Palo Alto for banning this. According to the law, you must be 21 years of age to purchase, posses or smoke marijuana. If kids can go up to any yard to steal pot then there's effectively no age restriction. It would be like leaving unopened bottles of Vodka in your yard... not a good idea.

If you want to grow or smoke, do it away from my kids.


44 people like this
Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 15, 2017 at 7:35 pm

DTN Paul is a registered user.

Or, Juan, you could keep your kids out of my yard.


22 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 15, 2017 at 11:48 pm

@DTN Paul - thanks for the laugh.

This topic just begs for sarcastic commentary. Maybe this is another use for an ADU? I doubt our highly-amended, uber-expansive ADU ordinance prohibits it.


9 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 16, 2017 at 8:58 am

I am trying to follow the logic here. If you are growing a couple of plants outside on your own property for your use only then it is not a tax generator for the city, county, or state. If you live in an apartment then there is no yard for you to grow on your property for your exclusive use - so you are now using pot grown elsewhere. Pot grown elsewhere is due to either a registered grower who has actual business that pays taxes, or the alternative which is a black market operation that is avoiding being registered and paying taxes.
Either way you are paying property taxes to the county so the county is your base of calculation - and the county is then refunding back to the city who ever is registered within the city limits. I don't see the city - given it's size and available land having any measureable degree of taxable pot. So your taxes will be paid to the county in either case. However Oakland is developing large commercial growers so Oakland will benefit from commercial pot growers. Contra Costa County and Alameda County will benefit because they are encouraging commercial growers - they have to space to do this - empty warehouses put to use.
So we get back to what is the effect of you growing pot on your property. No taxes, no cash payouts. But your gardeners are going to enjoy the benefits. of your efforts. Suggest that you grow in pots that you can bring in at night or on vacation.
And keep track of those Surf Air planes overhead - they have no security checks at their local airports. Suggest that PA hire some pot sniffing dogs to manage the traffic.


23 people like this
Posted by Do you know the way to SJ, SC, SF?
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2017 at 10:19 am

So very generous of Palo Alto to enrich all the other communities with our tax revenues while playing nanny state. So relieved to infer we don't have a tax deficit, over-crowded classrooms, unfunded pension liabilities, aren't laying off school aids and and are pleading poverty.

@Juan, keep your kids away from us! Teach your kids to respect people's privacy, to stop trespassing and to stop stealing. Very creepy.


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 16, 2017 at 10:35 am

Just to note on the tax base for PA all of the major companies are based in adjoining cities and SU property. Also county, government land - Veteran's Administration. PAMF is non-profit organization. We have an overload of non-profits in this city.
PA has made a valiant effort to chase out any tax-based company that supports the police and school system. That falls onto the residents who pay property taxes. So all of the enriching is actually taking place in Mountain View (Goggle) and Menlo Park (Facebook). We are not awash with tax revenues and we are not enriching other communities - they are doing fine thank you without our help. We are benefiting by housing their employees so we get property taxes. Different category of tax income.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 16, 2017 at 10:59 am

Note on property taxes - we evidently have a high percentage of home rental properties. That means when you see a new neighbor in a rental property that tax base for the property is not going up - it is based on when the property was last purchased by the owner - not the renter. I have friends that are now renting/leasing out their larger homes and buying second homes which are smaller - empty nest. It is unclear what the percentage is but understand that home rental properties are static as to property taxes. A growing number of people in my block are renting for a specific period then plan on moving on. Movement of people in an area does not necessarily translate to tax income for the city, county, or state. All of those young techies are not buying property - they are leasing or renting. Any translation of the booming economy may enrich the grocer, car mechanic or other commercial businesses in the area but not necessarily the housing market. Increased rental income then becomes a element in the owner's tax return which is offset by repair costs (carpeting, etc) to the property.


16 people like this
Posted by @Juan
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 16, 2017 at 3:45 pm

If your kids are going to break into someone's yard to steal pot, what would stop them from breaking into a house to steal it? And why can't these kids stop stealing?
I bet you're fine drinking in front of your kids.


5 people like this
Posted by YouKnowWhat's Funny?
a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2017 at 4:44 pm

I was browsing (not commenting) some of the comments here about the restriction on growing pot in Palo Alto when all of sudden the next web pages I browsed popped up ads I have never seen on my browser before having to do with marijuana cultivation, which I am definitely not involved in or looking to be involved him despite my inclinations to think Palo Alto is reaching to prohibit this.

Palo Alto Online I see this as a violation our privacy, are you acting as a testbed for Google and Facebook now?


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 16, 2017 at 8:40 pm

I believe that this could be a test bed for Gov. Jerry who is going to be termed out and needs a new job. He is BF with Vicente Fox of Mexico - also termed out. Or Gavin Newsome who is running for Governor. Big push by Mexico to update NAFTA for pot. Mexico and Canada want to be the main pot growers and suppliers. I would love to get these people out of our hair. We at going the WRONG WAY.


12 people like this
Posted by Bill Kelly
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Why not make it a referendum?


20 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Are there examples which make this ordinance such a high priority? I really don't understand why Palo Alto is so concerned with what appears to be a non-issue. Are somebody in City government having problems with their kids or something?


22 people like this
Posted by Parking Wars, Road Rage Etc.
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Given the increase in parking wars and road rage and other crimes, the city should be rushing to legalize dispensaries and outdoor gardens and bakeries so people will mellow out and the city can stop begging us for more and more money.

Why they made this such a top priority is beyond belief especially when it takes them 5+ years to deal with real problems like traffic light timing, bike thefts etc.


17 people like this
Posted by YouKnowWhat's Funny?
a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm

I see this is an in your face symbolic expression of what is an identity
politics effort to try to emphasize, intimidate and show who owns
and runs this town ... to the detriment of all I might also add.

This is the classic hatred that emanates from the right-wing for the
counter-culture, real democracy, real freedom which they cannot really
stand and have always had a hatred for - anything that challenges the
white male capitalist pro-development elite patriarchal disciplinary
system which cannot stand to see anyone have any fun especially if
they cannot suck money out of it.

Maybe we should rename Palo Alto to whatever is Spanish for
"stick in the mud"? ;-)

My English-Spanish translator tells me it is not too far away already - palo en el barro

It's legal ... after decades of work and waiting for the old fogeys to die off
it is finally legal. Let it go, give it up. The world has not ended and nor will it.


12 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 17, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Proponents don't want a referendum, they will lose 80-20 or more. It's common sense -- don't grow marijuana in public, don't leave unopened bottles of Vodka on the street, don't leave handguns on your lawn, etc. You're just encouraging crime and drug use. Smoke what you want, but do it out of sight, away from the kids, away from schools. That's a reasonable compromise all but fanatics can agree to. Good for the PA city council for standing up for common sense.


13 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2017 at 10:37 pm

@ YouKnowWhat's Funny? -- Yup. Sure is a shame there's no money to be made from fun and that PA would much prefer to play nanny to consenting adults while it continues to search high and low for ways to double its take from residents. HAH.

Legal US pot sales soar to $5.4B in 2015: Report (CNBC & NYT)
Web Link

Legal Marijuana Sales Could Hit $6.7 Billion In 2016 (Fortune Magazine)
Fortune.com/2016/02/01/marijuana-sales-legal/

How California could spend its expected $1 Billion in one year (Motley Fool)
Web Link


22 people like this
Posted by Why Bother to Vote
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 18, 2017 at 12:36 am

Why do we bother to vote and/or have elections when unelected bureaucrats like the city attorney can simply decide they don't like the election results and decide to cancel out the will of the voters to legalize recreational marijuana as well as medical marijuana?

@Juan, since when did our own private backyards become public property? No one's asking to grow it in public so please get off that hobby horse


5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 18, 2017 at 10:46 am

Please do not bore us with the hype. In the state of Colorado in which pot is legally grown and sold they are already having a problem with the "black market" in which sales are conducted by groups who are not legally certified to sell pot - therefore no record of sales for tax purposes. Yes - money coming in but the expense of the agency and extra personnel to manage this effort exceeds the profit. Notice how these groups always report the income but not the expense?
And the "income" is only registered by those who actually provide tax returns for the business. That does not account for the inflow of narcotics over the border which is voluminous. So that is why Mr. Fox of Mexico is floating around hyping their superiority in this venture. That is Mexico's income - not ours.
There is very limited land in Palo Alto City for a certified, tax producing venture. Any available land is being built upon to support the incoming techies. All of you potential growers should move to the central valley which has available land. Any land you see is already blocked out for the next great housing venture.
The Motley Fool is well aware that we have a pot industry in established locations - mostly up north. And corporations are already buying up the land which is upsetting the "family" farmers. So all is not golden and green in pot world.


5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 18, 2017 at 11:01 am

Is it possible for people to stop throwing around accusations which have no basis in fact? Alcohol is a business. Pot is a business. What you do with it is up to you but getting it on the market is other people's business. And where you grow it is other people's business if not in your own backyard.
Any individual is only a part of the equation. Any individual has to function within the current laws. And if the city, county, or state is going to report any income from this then it has to be done in a specific set of rules.
All of the calculations on profit require a standard set of laws in order to record profit. If how business is conducted is a mystery then take a business class.


17 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 18, 2017 at 11:51 am

@resident, no one's talking about establishing huge pot farms in our already dense city because there's no place for farms and PA real estate's too expensive. For rural areas, Large-scale grow operations obviously require licenses as per the new law that was enacted so everyone's protected.

We're talking about letting people grow the 6 plants for PERSONAL use that's permitted by CA law in the privacy of our own back yards,



1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 18, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Yes - I am well aware that we are talking about a small number of plants. However other posters post what they think is bonanza dollars and conspiracy theories. They are all over the road map. However the state and county have yet to formalize their approach to this topic. What I said is pertinent to the decision making that goes in to this. What ever the city decides still has to address the tax and legal aspects. Some of the surrounding cities are not as constrained land wise and may be entertaining a grow location. The county should be consistent in the policy across the board.


2 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 19, 2017 at 1:16 am

FYI - sales taxes do not fund Palo Alto schools, property taxes and parcel taxes fund PAUSD. You might want re-write your arguments...


24 people like this
Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 19, 2017 at 9:30 am

Palo Alto and in fact Santa Clara County voters came out overwhelmingly in favor of the recent marijuana legalization laws. As the obstacles to personal use fall, so rise the expectations people will have, including growing in their own yards. What did pro-marijuana voters expect? If the rule of law allows use, then I see no reason why the government should be involved in dictating to people whether or not they can grown a few plants on their own property. Marijuana legalization will undoubtedly have some downsides and fallout. You voted for it. Now deal with it.


8 people like this
Posted by Scotty the Boot
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 19, 2017 at 9:43 am

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 19, 2017 at 6:32 pm

Check out the History Channel tonight starting at 7:00 PM - War on Drugs. They are following the period in pre-Castro Cuba through Reagan in Sunday night segment. So starting with next time period. The footage and involvement with the CIA is unbelievable. This covered the summer of love on LSD, etc. So depending on your interest it is a documentary on the amount of time and energy the Government has already devoted to this topic.

Taxes - The world does not revolve around the PAUSD. The person selling or working in the business has a personal tax return - everyone has a personal tax return. The taxes you send into the federal / state are supporting the federal /state budget - all aspects. And if you are claiming a medicinal use then that may be included in your standard or itemized deductions.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 21, 2017 at 10:58 am

As the War on Drugs continues on the History Channel it starts with Havana, Cuba - pre-revolution and moves through each presidential cycle and now up to the Clinton era of NAFTA - the door is now open for the drug trade from Mexico. Trump is telling you what the war on drugs is. Gov Jerry has provided his response - we have "values".
NO - the drug trade is so entrenched that there is nothing he can do about it. And now the SOCAL guys are running the show. Note that the SJM suddenly stopped listing the History Channel on it's TV for the day - the SFC shows it.
So what is Palo Alto and Santa Clara County doing concerning the drug wars?
We already know the SF has given in and are awash with people problems.
Diane and Nancy know very well what is going on - what are they doing? they are in Resist mode. And Hollywood is having a drug breakdown and going crazy.


2 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 21, 2017 at 11:22 am

@Crescent Park Dad -- Yes, you're right about property and parcel taxes supporting the schools, not sales tax revenues which I think are about 14% of PA's total revenue.

So where does our sales tax revenue go? What does it fund? Libraries? Police?


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Article about the State Board of Equalization today - Jerry is firing them because they distribute tax income incorrectly. Money appears to be going every which way except where it is suppose to go. Very confusing - I know we voted on these people but did not know what they do. They are suppose to distribute it. Another mystery. California government is filled with mysteries.


11 people like this
Posted by old resident
a resident of Nixon School
on Jun 21, 2017 at 4:35 pm

First time I smoked pot was back when I attended Stanford Elementary School.... Pot is safe, a choice, and a much better one than any alternative.

Palo Alto has never had a problem with recreational use, so where is the "political will" coming from?

I'm dumbfounded, not stoned.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 21, 2017 at 7:31 pm

The SFC has run a number of articles on trying to clean up the streets filled with hypodermic needles. They always start the stories in the middle - never discuss the source of the drugs. San Jose has a gang problem that is tied to drugs. To say that PA has never had a problem with recreational use is an opinion. This would not have come up in the first place if that was a correct statement. That is my opinion. Every situation has an up side and a down side.
In any case the Gov has spent a lot of time on this subject going way back in time.


14 people like this
Posted by old resident ii
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jun 22, 2017 at 10:43 am

What do needles have to do with people growing a few pot plants in their back yards? Do you think people are shooting up marijuana?


4 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 22, 2017 at 11:39 am

FYI - according to "Palo Alto Pulse" Web Link, city revenues are sourced by the following:

19% - Property Taxes
15% - Sales Taxes
14% - Charges for Services
11% - Operating Transfers In
8% - Transient Occupancy Tax
8% - Rental Income
7% - Utility Users Tax
6% - Charges to Other Funds
5% - Permits and Licenses
4% - Documentary Transfer Tax
3% - Other Misc. Revenue


7 people like this
Posted by Carla Talbott
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2017 at 8:02 pm

I lived in Palo Alto from 1970-2008 and it was such a forward facing place but since it got more and more rich, and hence Conservative, it's really a stuffy, uppity, uptight place anymore. It's totally lost the wonderful vibe it once had. The money grubbers took it over completely. Keep falling farther and farther behind, P.A. while you stick your noses in the air with an air of superiority. After being heartbroken about having to relocate (for financial reasons) I now have done a 180 and I would not care to live again in Palo Alto given how it's changed (for the worst in my opinion). I like my new town, McMinnville, Oregon, because it's a lot like P.A. used to be. Come visit. We're in the heart of the Oregon Wine Country and the beautiful Willamette Valley. Much more of everything for your dollar and a wonderful spirited town with plenty to do.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 23, 2017 at 8:47 am

The headline article in the SFC today is the State Board of Equalization which manages in part the sales tax on liquor and pot. Money coming in but going elsewhere not approved. That state board is being dissolved of responsibility. Suggest you all read it and form your own opinions about any new activity currently being discussed which has a tax impact. The SJM is rather quiet on this topic - maybe so many tax issues on the table do not want negative publicity?

Is the city management informed about these major tax impacts prior to release of information in the press?

Personally I think we should be cooling any new tax impacts until this all sorts out. Maybe Jerry Hill needs to cool the Caltrain tax. We need to make sure the state is capable of managing money coming in vs money going out. We do not need to have tax money redirected to state employee pet projects.

this is like the UC system which secretly hoards tax money for parties and who knows what else.


9 people like this
Posted by Use Our Beautiful Sunshine
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 18, 2017 at 6:31 pm

If you care about our shared atmosphere, do not drive Cannabis gardeners indoors.
If you care about waste and overconsumption, do not drive Cannabis gardeners indoors.
If you care about fire safety, do not drive Cannabis gardeners indoors.
If you care about indoor mold and water damaged property, do not drive Cannabis growers indoors.
It is a flaw of Proposition 64 that it allows banning outdoor personal use growers. It fails to recognize the greenhouse gas implications of those restrictions, and leaving them out of the proposition would not have changed the crushing margin of victory one iota.
YIMBY -- get used to it.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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