Cannabis Dispensaries In Los Gatos?

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE LGCA BELIEVES THIS TO BE A SOCIAL DECISION AND WE ARE MORE OF A POLITICAL OPINION SITE BUT WITH A 6 YEAR FOCUS ON TOWN FINANCES.  WE DO QUESTION THE TOWN’S MOTIVATION AND THEIR PROJECTED NUMBERS.  MS. LEWIS SENT HER LETTER TO US FOR PUBLICATION.   REMEMBER THAT THE 2016 COUNCIL REJECTED A PUBLICALLY SUPPORTED 1/2% SALES TAX THAT WOULD HAVE GENERATED $4.8M DOLLARS EVERY YEAR,  THEY BLEW THAT AND ARE NOW WE’RE LOOKING TO CANNABIS FOR REVENUES. THOSE APPEAR VERY UNLIKELY TO PAY ALL THE MONEY THE TOWN OWES, IF IT GENERATES ANYTHING AT ALL ONCE EXPENSES ARE ACCOUNTED FOR.  MS. LEWIS MAKES SOME NOTABLE COMMENTS THAT EACH CITIZEN SHOULD THINK ABOUT.

Dear Robert Schultz, Rob Rennie, Maria Ristow, Mary Badame, Matthew Hudes, Marico Sayoc, Laurel Prevetti

My name is Lisa Harris and I have been a homeowner in Los Gatos for over 20 years. I am part of a growing collective group of concerned residents in Los Gatos called CAD, Community Against Dispensaries.

Recently we were made aware that the town of Los Gatos hired a Cannabis management company called HDL for initial consultation services.

I looked on the HDL website to learn more about the cannabis management company that the Town of Los Gatos gave $50,000 to. I want to quote what HDL said on their website regarding the companies “Regulation, Development, and Support services.”

“HDL, will help you develop cannabis regulations that maximize agency economic benefits while providing a framework for cannabis businesses to operate successfully. Services include fiscal analysis, land-use regulation development, regulatory and tax ordinance drafting, and ballot resolution preparation.” This is a biased for profit agency with regards to the cannabis industry. HDL plays a core part in orchestrating the approval of commercial cannabis businesses in towns.

Upon further research I discovered that essentially they are a full service company that has contracts with towns over the course of many years . HDL makes the bulk of their profits off of towns if they allow cannabis businesses to operate. They also will work with cannabis companies in a towns jurisdiction on an ongoing basis to make sure the town is receiving their taxes. HDL is essentially a biased pro- cannabis company. If we don’t allow cannabis in the town of Los Gatos, than HDL can’t provide billable services. It’s in HDL’s best interest to convince the town of LG to allow cannabis businesses to operate. David Mc Pherson, Cannabis Compliance Director for HDL said in an interview with mjbizdaily.com, “ It makes no sense for this firm not to want cannabis businesses to succeed in the jurisdictions where it has contracts”

According to consulting.us, the town of San Bernadino originally had a 5 year $750,000 contract with HDL. HDL was going to audit and oversee regulations of the cannabis businesses in the town. San Bernadino shortened the contract to 1 year at $150,000 . Here’s the interesting part. It was reported in the consulting.us article that “The remaining 4 year contract($600,000) will be paid using fees collected from various Cannabis Businesses during the commercial licensing process.” So HDL also bills cannabis businesses for providing their services, in addition to billing towns. This contradicts what Andy Nickerson President of HDL wrote in the cover letter to Robert Schultz Town Attorney on January 24, 2022. Nickerson wrote , “HDL works solely with public agencies and has no private-sector clients in the cannabis industry”

In other words, HDL manages to still get paid by the local cannabis businesses even though a town might change their mind and not want a 5 year contract. No matter how you look at this, HDL’s sole fiscal survival is dependent upon towns allowing cannabis businesses.

In addition, HDL has no concern regarding for safety for the communities. In an interview by The Californian the question to David Mc Pherson was asked, “Is public concern common in communities?” Mc Pherson answered, “They keep bringing it back to schools and kids but look at the state law, and public safety, and law enforcement. It has so little concern of manufacturing ( growing operations) being an issue.” HDL looks for legal loopholes or rewrites the town ordinances to get the cannabis businesses in the towns anyway they can.

In the 1/24/22 proposal by HDL it said that the “Town Attorney held a series of 10 meetings with various community groups to gather input from the public. The majority of the public in attendance expressed an interest in allowing cannabis businesses within the town.”

CAD is requesting information as to who attended those 10 meetings? This meeting ,to our knowledge, was never publicized within the community for the town to ”gather

Input.” Furthermore, a survey was done recently by Surveymonkey asking if the town residents wanted dispensaries. Over %60 voted NO.

***CAD is asking Robert Shultz, Laurel Prevetti, or any member from the town council to please answer the following questions;

1) Why did the town council hire HDL knowing that it is a biased for-profit marijuana consultation company?

2) The town already did a survey on Surveymonkey and discovered that over 60% polled were against dispensaries in the town of Los Gatos. Your constituents have spoken. Why did the town hire HDL anyways?

3) In the future, How will you be communicating your intentions regarding allowing dispensaries in town?

4)Robert Schultz, Who were those 10 groups that you met with that expressed an interest in allowing cannabis businesses within the town?

5) What is the long term financial commitment that the town expects to spend with HDL if dispensaries are allowed?

***CAD is making a formal request asking the town to terminate it’s contract with HDL and find an unbiased consultation firm that doesn’t have any financial stake in the outcome of the survey.

CAD is just getting started, this group has evolved and grown so quickly in spite of not advertising in our local communication resources or social media. We haven’t even gotten the word out to all of the parents in our local schools yet. I can guarantee you that there will be many concerned parents asking why does the town council and it’s leaders think having dispensaries in our town will enhance our quality of life.

Kind regards,

Lisa Harris

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