Realizing that it was going to be sued no matter which way it voted, the Berkeley City Council last night approved a proposal by a local pot club to move near a private elementary school and day-care center. The council had the option of altering an existing city law that prohibits pot clubs of being within 1,000 feet of public schools to also include private schools and daycare centers. But Mayor Tom Bates told the Express today that the council decided it had no choice but to okay the move, because the Berkeley Patients Group marijuana dispensary had submitted its proposal under the current law, so it would have been unfair to change it and apply it retroactively.
If the council had chosen to change the existing law, then the Berkeley Patients Group likely would have sued. But because the council didn’t, it will almost assuredly be sued by area business owners, and possibly, the private school, Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley. “It was just a situation of who was going to sue us,” Bates said. The mayor also said that he plans to push for a ballot measure that would alter the existing law to include private schools and daycare centers and to give the city more regulatory powers over pot clubs.