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Compromise and Consideration




After carefully experimenting with a plan to open cannabis storefront businesses in Mountain View, city leadership reached a compromise between cannabis business operators and residents who were worried about the impact cannabis sales would have on children. City officials settled upon a compromise to ban on storefront businesses, while allowing a modest handful of delivery-only businesses in the city.

Mountain View is known for its bustling tech community including headquarters for Google and Mozilla. Despite almost 68 percent of Mountain View residents voting affirmatively on Proposition 64, the town is also home to plenty of residents who oppose allowing cannabis businesses in the local vicinity—most notably storefront businesses. Concerned citizens ended up being the driving force behind the decision to exclude storefront businesses.

Eight months ago, Mountain View City Council approved an ordinance to allow four cannabis businesses, with two storefronts and two distribution/delivery businesses. Three applicants turned in applications for storefront business licenses and one applied for a distribution business license. But on May 23, Mountain View City Council changed course and approved a ban on storefront cannabis businesses with amendments to Articles V and VI of Chapter 36 of city code.

The decision to drop storefront cannabis businesses from opening was resolved after over 100 residents, mostly parents, attended the city council meeting, many of which held signs with messages like “Protect kids, not pot shops.” On June 11, the Mountain View City Council adopted additional amendments to city code to reflect the changes including zoning, application fees and permit amendments.

Ultimately, storefront cannabis businesses were excluded from the ordinance. “The Mountain View City Council decided to allow three delivery-only cannabis businesses in the city,” Mountain View Mayor Lisa Matichak told CULTURE. “The council wanted to provide better access for medicinal purposes, and also go slow with this new type of business in the city. With the ever-increasing trend of online shopping and delivery, allowing delivery-only businesses was the compromise the council reached.”  The three applicants who applied for storefront businesses earlier were encouraged to retry and apply as delivery businesses, and the distribution center was deemed eligible to move forward, according to The Mercury News.

“The Mountain View City Council decided to allow three delivery-only cannabis businesses in the city.”


Matichak told local media that her plan from the beginning was to give the residents of Mountain View what they wanted regardless of her own opinions, and in this case, they didn’t want cannabis stores opening in their neighborhood. Many residents wanted to ban cannabis delivery businesses and all other types of cannabis businesses as well, but the city council didn’t go that far. Several adjacent communities ban all types of cannabis businesses.

The ordinance amendments gained mixed support from city leaders. Former Mountain View Mayor Leonard Siegel was a vocal supporter of allowing storefront cannabis businesses, but in the end, his efforts were in vain. The number of residents opposing storefronts at city council meetings far outweighed the number of residents who were supportive.

Naturally, cannabis delivery businesses in the city must abide by buffer zones, and Mountain View’s buffer was extended to 600-feet around schools and daycare centers. The buffer zone was also recently extended to protect other “sensitive use” facilities such as parks, libraries and community centers.

Mountain View residents may not get storefront cannabis shops for now, but if anything, they will at least have access to licensed delivery services. The decision is a balance between what Mountain View residents want and what business owners want.